The Self-Care Planner for Parents of Special Needs Children
ARTICLE by Gwen Payne
If you’re the parent of a special needs child, caring for them can take a toll on your body, mind, and spirit. You may have trouble sleeping, feel constantly stressed out, or find it hard to relax even after an exhausting day with your child. MINDBODY coach Sara Picken-Brown explains that it’s important to remember to take care of yourself so you can continue to give everything you can to your family and still function at work and home.
What Is Fatigue?
Sleepstation points out that fatigue is an overwhelming feeling of physical or mental tiredness and exhaustion. Do you wake up naturally feeling refreshed and energized? Or do you struggle to drag yourself out of bed even after a full night’s sleep? If the source of fatigue goes unchecked, it can lead to severe anxiety disorder or depression.
It’s hard to overstate how important getting enough sleep can be for your ability to care for and parent a child with special needs. If you are exhausted, it’s difficult to sustain your patience and focus.
How Do You Know if You’re Exhausted?
To assess your level of fatigue, try asking yourself some questions:
- Are you having trouble sleeping?
- Are you feeling sad or hopeless?
- Do you have trouble concentrating or remembering things?
- Do you need to rest more than usual between activities?
- Is it hard for you to get started on tasks at home, like cleaning or cooking?
Taking Stock of Your Life
Create a list of everything you spend time doing in a day, from driving your kids to their activities to folding laundry to working. Now, take a hard look at what’s on that list and ask yourself: Are these things absolutely necessary? Are they making me happy? If not, start making some changes.
Your Self-Care Plan
Think of your self-care plan as a necessary component to support you and your family in living with a special needs child. Your self-care plan will help balance you emotionally, physically, and psychologically. The Breakdown notes that self-care can help alleviate the many stressors associated with having a special needs child. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- First, clear out the bad energy from your home to create a positive atmosphere
- Take a bubble bath
- Take deep breaths
- Order in dinner
- Watch funny YouTube videos
- Try yoga
- Take a walk in nature
- Go swimming
- Listen to relaxing music
- Read a book
- Get a massage
- Light a scented candle
- Schedule an exercise session with life and fitness coach Sara Picken-Brown
Pursuing Personal Goals
Pursuing personal goals like starting your own business, starting a new hobby or project, or simply learning something new can enrich your work by providing variety and context to your professional life. But to make sure these pursuits complement — and don’t detract from — your day job (and don’t clash with your family obligations). It’s important to get organized and develop some routines that will allow you to manage it all. If you’re just starting in business, forming a limited liability company (LLC) is a smart move. An LLC protects your personal assets from business debt and other liability issues.
Take Care of Yourself
Fatigue is a problem for parents of special needs children. But with some self-care treatment, rest assured you will reduce your stress levels, improve your mood and increase your quality of life.
MINDBODY coach Sara Picken-Brown has spent 20 years working with women to create a deeper acceptance, understanding and love for their body, and learn how to balance care for others with care for themselves. Reach out for more info today! email@example.com