Struggling With Fatigue as the Parent of a Special Needs Child? Here’s What You Need to Know by Gwen Payne, InvisibleMoms.com
Many parents of special needs children struggle with parental fatigue. You can assess your fatigue levels by examining various aspects of your life. For example, if your physical capacity is dipping or your parenting satisfaction is falling, those are signs of rising fatigue. Other signs include increasing depression or anxiety and declining sleep quality.
If you know you’re struggling with parental fatigue, taking action is essential. Dr. Robinson discusses how to get started. Here are some pointers.
Avoiding Negative Outcomes as You Address Your Parental FatigueNot Overlooking a Medical ConditionAs the parent of a special needs child, it’s easy to assume that any feelings of tiredness are related to childrearing. However, fatigue is a symptom of a slew of medical conditions.
Long-haul COVID-19, chronic liver disease, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, and many others can cause fatigue. If you assume your childrearing is responsible for yours, you may end up undertreating a genuine medical condition, which can be dangerous. As a result, you need to make sure that you see a medical professional if your fatigue persists.
Ensuring You Don’t Overburden Your Support SystemIn many cases, parents of special needs children need to ask for help, particularly if they need extra self-care time. While reaching out on occasion is healthy, doing so too much can harm your relationships.
For example, if you ask your spouse to take on more than their fair share in the name of self-care, they may become resentful. Similarly, if you request support from your family members and friends too often, they may begin to feel used, causing them to withdraw.
Ultimately, you need to find a balance when it comes to asking for help. One great way to begin is making sure you give as much as you get. That keeps the relationships feeling equitable, which can make a significant difference.
Self-Care Options for Parents Dealing with Parental FatigueSqueezing Self-Care Into a Busy ScheduleParents of special needs children usually don’t have much time to spare. As a result, they may assume that self-care won’t fit into their world. However, this is often because of an inaccurate assumption about self-care.
Many self-care recommendations ask people to take 20 or more minutes at a time to complete the activity, which isn’t practical for all parents. This leads many parents to think that all self-care activities require a significant time commitment. Thankfully, that isn’t true.
Even short self-care activities make a difference. For example, a yoga sun salutation takes only a few minutes and can leave you feeling reinvigorated. Watching a funny video on your phone can also be self-care since laughter is a stress-reliever.
By adjusting how you view self-care, you can often fit more of it into your day. Consider how you can incorporate more of those types of small self-care moments into your schedule. Then, choose short activities that you find soothing or enjoyable that work during those times, allowing you to participate in more self-care.
Pick a Personal Goal to PursueMaintaining a sense of self is challenging for any parent, particularly those raising a special needs child. If you want to keep a sense of identity, spending time pursuing a personal goal can help. It gives you a sense of achievement that isn’t tied to childrearing. Plus, it gives you a chance to move toward something you want.
If you’ve always dreamed of starting a company, you can make it happen. Develop your business plan slowly over time, allowing you to build a strong foundation first. Then, choose the proper structure when it’s time to form your company. Often, going with an LLC is wise. It reduces liability, has less paperwork, remains flexible, and comes with tax advantages. Just make sure you review LLC formation regulations in Georgia.
As you can see, even big dreams are potential targets. As long as you break them into smaller pieces and take your time, you can make progress while managing your other responsibilities, allowing you to have it all.
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