Parenting can be stressful under the best of circumstances, but moms and dads of children with developmental and mental health challenges often have to deal with strain of a different magnitude. Caring for a child with special needs is a full-time job and an overwhelming one at that, if you don’t have adequate support. Without enough help, parents may be headed toward caregiver burnout, which negatively affects everyone.
Studies show that parents of children with developmental, psychiatric or learning disorders are far more likely than others to experience:
• Marital problems
These self-care strategies can help you look after yourself, so that you can then better care for your loved one.
1. Daily ‘me’ time: 15–30 minutes: Carve out even just 15 minutes every day or so to do something that is relaxing. Whether it’s reading a magazine, having a cup of favorite coffee, or tea or talking on the phone to a friend, it’s super important that parents have a ‘me moment’ in order to recharge, reset and rally for the next challenges.
2. Embrace movement: Exercise works: With exercise, you cross a lot of bases: It’s good for your body, you improve your mood, your cognitive efficiency increases, your sense of well-being increases, and you feel more in charge of yourself.
3. Find your tribe: Find a meaningful group of friends that can support you where you are at now.
4. Accepting the limits to what you can: Understand that you can go the extra mile for you child but you don’t have to do it alone. Accepting that there are also some things you don’t have control over and that is okay.
5. Make time for a hobby or another activity you enjoy at least once weekly. Creative ventures will nurture your soul.
Basic self-care: Getting enough sleep every night, staying hydrated, getting regular exercise, and spending time away from children