Caring for special needs children is no small task; it requires constant attention and dedication from parents who often put their own needs last to ensure their child receives the best care possible. It is essential for parents to practice self-care to avoid burnout and maintain the energy and stamina to be their best selves. You, your child, and your entire family will reap the benefits in the long run!
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This is a guest post by Amanda Henderson and Safe Children.
Parenting is a demanding job, and it can be especially difficult when parenting children with special needs. Between doctor appointments, therapies, and day-to-day care, parents, special-needs parents are often overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into caring for their children.
It’s essential to develop a self-care plan to prevent burnout and maintain your mental health as a parent. And as you learn to foster your own well-being, you’ll notice your family bonds strengthening. Today, The Excelerated Life explains how to assess your fatigue levels and create an effective self-care treatment plan to help you manage your demands while still taking time for yourself.
The first step in creating a successful self-care plan is understanding your own level of fatigue. You must recognize the signs of exhaustion so that you can take steps to reduce it before it becomes too severe. Common symptoms include difficulty sleeping or staying asleep, feeling overwhelmed or anxious, irritability, and difficulty concentrating on tasks. Or you might find yourself relying too heavily on caffeinated beverages to keep yourself going. If you identify any of these symptoms in yourself, it may be time to take a break and focus on self-care activities.
You’ll also want to evaluate other aspects of your life, such as parental effectiveness, marital satisfaction, and your child’s behavioral issues. These factors can significantly impact overall family functioning, so it’s important to monitor them closely for any changes that might elicit additional stress or anxiety in the home environment.
Check-in With Your Doctor
And don’t forget to follow up with your doctor to make sure there are no other causes for your fatigue. It is easy to put off your own health care as a parent, and especially as a parent of a child with disabilities, but you need to care for yourself, too. If you don’t have health insurance because of the cost, check out your state’s subsidized programs.
Once you’ve identified the areas that need improvement in the home environment, it’s time to establish personal goals for yourself. This could include anything from starting a business venture to getting an online degree or taking up art classes — whatever will help you relax and decompress after a long day of parenting duties! Setting achievable goals can also motivate you during the times you feel like giving up because there’s always something new to strive toward.
If you’ve been wanting to push yourself physically by running a marathon, set it as your goal. Give yourself plenty of time to train and start with smaller steps, like taking daily walks and jogs through pedestrian-friendly areas. Work your way up from there!
On the other hand, if you have a mind for business and choose to start a company, avoid the temptation to procrastinate on the administrative responsibilities that will help you lay a firm foundation. For example, you’ll need to write a business plan that guides your steps for the months and years ahead. You’ll also need to choose a legal structure. Many entrepreneurs form Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) because of the liability protection, tax benefits, and flexibility they provide. Look into your state’s regulations, and work with a formation service to get off to a strong start.
If you decide to work from home and your current residence doesn’t give you the space you need, maybe it’s time to move! Begin by familiarizing yourself with the local rental market; check online listings and pay attention to amenities and neighborhoods, as well as rent.
If you want to further your education, start researching the wealth of accredited online universities. Higher education can do wonders for your career prospects, and these days there are many online programs that will allow you to get a bachelor’s degree at your own pace. That way, you won’t need to compromise your parenting duties as you strengthen your earning potential.
As you take steps to practice self-care and strengthen your family bonds, keep an eye out for unwanted outcomes. For example, you may be tempted to overcompensate for your partner as you seek to lower your stress levels.
On the other hand, you’ll want to be mindful of not overburdening the people in your support network or practicing so much self-care that you drop the ball on your most important responsibilities. The goal is to foster your health and well-being so that you can be the best you possible — for yourself and those you love the most.
Either of these imbalances can create bad energy in your home. Talk through your problems with your partner or family members, but then also take measures to cleanse your space and start fresh. Start by decluttering and cleaning, as both will improve mental health. Then, use a naturopathic cleaning remedy to remove bad energy caused by negativity, complaining, and resentment.
Caring for special needs children is no small task; it requires constant attention and dedication from parents who often put their own needs last to ensure their child receives the best care possible. That said, it’s essential for parents to practice self-care to avoid burnout and maintain the energy and stamina to be their best selves. Remember the tips and information above as you create a self-care treatment plan for your fatigue. You, your child, and your entire family will reap the benefits in the long run!
Amanda Henderson is both a mom to two rambunctious boys and a preschool teacher, so she knows from experience how quickly a situation can become unsafe. She created and writes for Safe Children to educate parents on how to keep their children safe while also having fun.
Excelerated Selffulness™ — taking excellent care of yourself — is one practice for creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.