How Parents of Special Needs Kids Use Self-Care to Fight Fatigue
Fatigue is a common problem for all parents. But when you have a child with special needs, the extra care requirements can be especially demanding and lead to physical or mental exhaustion. As a primary caregiver, you cannot simply request a day off. However, self-care can prevent burnout. Read on for different ways to identify fatigue and overcome it using self-care techniques.
Assess Your Fatigue Level
You can use specific questions to diagnose fatigue and help gauge your level of fatigue. Some questions you might ask yourself are:
How is your sleep quality?
A smartwatch can monitor your sleep patterns and movements. It may also measure the quality of sleep by taking pulse readings. But do make sure to check out unbiased reviews from real-world users to find the best model for you.
Do you have anxiety or depression?
Signs to look for include your overall outlook, how often you avoid specific situations, and whether you enjoy activities you used to love.
How much time do you spend on self-care?
You can time how long you spend doing things you want or enjoy and how much time you get to rest outside of regular sleep.
How can you rate your parental satisfaction?
You should assess how you feel about the work you do as a primary caregiver of the child. If such an assessment brings negative answers, your fatigue level is likely very high.
Pursue Personal Goals
You can start by setting short-term and long-term goals that are unrelated to your parenting duties. Short-term plans could include gardening, doing a DIY craft, cooking a meal, or watching a movie. Your aims should be simple in order to make you feel like you have accomplished something when you are done. Longer-term pursuits can include starting a business or going back to school to learn a new subject. These won't bring short-term satisfaction, but they will help you feel like you are working toward something bigger that isn't related to child care.
If you start a business, consider forming an LLC to access liability protections and tax advantages. Note that each state has different rules for business formation, so research the requirements for your state before filing paperwork.
Seek Help for Mental Health
If a business requires too much time and energy, it could exacerbate your fatigue and mental outlook. Also, investment in a company or education could add financial strain to your household and bring added stress to your family relationships.
Signs of mental health problems include having trouble concentrating, not wanting to get out of bed, or reacting to issues negatively without thinking. If you notice these signs, it's important to see a mental health professional quickly. This licensed expert can assess your symptoms and decide if talk therapy or medication (or both) can help.
If your medical professional decides to prescribe antidepressants or anxiety medication, you should be aware of possible side effects and have your progress checked regularly. If you notice side effects or don't see the expected improvements, you should tell your doctor immediately.
Start Focusing on Self-care Today
If you are mentally or physically fatigued, you can make time for personal activities or seek professional help for mental health. For more parenting advice and resources, visit Moms Beyond magazine.
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