Self-Care Strategies for Parents with Caregiver Fatigue
Please enjoy this guest post by Gwen Payne from Invisible Moms!
Parenting tips are everywhere you look these days, but for those who are caring for children with special needs, there are often few resources that can help with the mental and physical toll it takes. Exhaustion is a common factor, especially for those who are juggling work, maintaining a home, and raising other children, and when you feel burnt out, it’s hard to be the best parent you can be. It’s often challenging to even figure out what kind of fatigue you’re feeling and where it’s coming from, let alone how to prevent it. The key is to look for help and support from those who understand where you are.
Mad About Marriage has a wealth of resources and tools for parents who are exhausted, overwhelmed, or frustrated. It’s also important to set some goals and create a self-care plan for your overall well-being.
Determine the origin of your fatigue
For many parents who have a special needs child at home, exhaustion is more mental in origin; you may feel stressed, anxious, or depressed when faced with your daily tasks. For others, physical exhaustion sets in after helping their child with heavy equipment or picking him or her up throughout the day.
Once you’ve determined the origin of your fatigue, it’s time to assess the level so you can accurately treat it. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How well am I sleeping at night?
- What is my level of physical activity?
- How much free time do I have?
- What is my level of anxiety?
It’s also a good idea to ask yourself whether you feel guilty when you take time for yourself since that’s a common feeling for caregivers.
Create a treatment plan
Once you understand where your fatigue is coming from, you can learn how to treat it. Create a wellness plan that revolves around your schedule, keeping in mind that feelings of guilt could lead to a negative outcome if you let them affect other aspects of your life (such as your relationship with your partner). If you don’t sleep well at night due to anxiety, come up with a self-care routine that allows you time to relax before bed. If you skip meals because you feel you don’t have time to prepare healthy food, learn some meal prep tips.
Set some goals
As you come up with a treatment plan for your own wellness, it’s important to set some goals for yourself. They may be as small as eating a healthy lunch or as big as going back to school to earn a degree, but the important thing is that you do something for yourself. Write down your goals so you can stay motivated, and do some research on how to take action on them. For instance, if you want to start your own business in the next year, find out what you need to do to protect your personal assets and keep them separate from your professional endeavors. Be sure to learn how to register an LLC, and research the tax benefits that come with creating an LLC for your business.
Treating your fatigue levels as the parent and caregiver of a child with special needs is so important because it allows you to focus on your own needs and recharge. Without a wellness plan, your exhaustion and stress levels may feel completely overwhelming at times, but when you’re armed with a strategy you’ll feel ready to tackle any new challenges the day bring.
Click here for more information and resources at Invisible Moms.