Taking care of a child with special needs is a round-the-clock job with few breaks. You have a tendency to put most of your energy into your child’s well-being, while your own needs take second place…or last place.
One of the most important things you can do to be an effective parent is to take time for yourself. It takes determination and learning to say “no,” but you can, and you should, take time for yourself.
The following are some ways to take care of yourself:
See your doctor
As a caregiver of a child with a disability, it’s common for you to suffer from health conditions caused by stress. Schedule an appointment with a physician to get a check-up. Talk you’re your doctor about any areas of concern, and take the necessary steps you need to get your health back on track.
Eat healthy food
You may be completely vigilant about your children’s nutritional intake, but negligent with your own. Consider keeping a food diary to keep track of nutritional choices and be mindful of what you eat and when you are eating.
Get together with friends
Social isolation is the single biggest risk of parents who are caregiving, and maintaining healthy friendships help alleviate this. Take time to spend moments with adults so you can laugh, share, and enjoy others. This can increase an overall sense of well-being.
Start to exercise
Working out on a regular basis reduces stress, improves cardiovascular health and boosts your brain’s ability to function properly. There are many ways to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle as a parent of a child with special needs, from taking your child on a walk in a public park to dancing with your child in the living room.
Find quiet time
As a parent, even small moments mean a lot. Whether it’s taking a long hot shower or relaxing with a cup of coffee in front of a window for five minutes, discovering times that you can take to stop and breathe will give you a much-needed break.
Caregivers, especially parents of children with special needs, often blame themselves and question their own good judgment at every turn. Carrying guilt and resentment over a long period can diminish the quality of your life and the life of your child with a disability. Forgive yourself for any negative emotions you may have, and know that everything you feel is completely normal.
If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.
American Advocacy group is on the front lines every day, making positive change happen for people diagnosed with Autism, Down syndrome and a range of diagnoses across the continuum. As a leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and the premier provider of the support and services people want and need, we understand the system and know how to take action in regard to your best interests.
CONTACT US FOR HELP.
Dial (877) 762-0702 or email us at [email protected].