This month we have a guest author named Laura Pearson with Edutude. She is passionate about teaching the younger generation. Edutude was built to share resources on how to keep children engaged and in love with learning.
Parental fatigue is more common among parents of children with special needs. It’s a result of the dual demands on their time as caregivers and all-around family managers. Gaining perspective is one way to recover from this condition, but it’s not uncommon to have trouble doing so.
The effects of parental fatigue are often not recognized, as they are often mistaken for other issues like depression, anxiety, or personality disorders. However, research suggests that at one point or another, most parents of children with special needs will experience exhaustion and mood disturbances due to this fatigue.
Everyone needs time for self-care, and that is especially true for parents of children with special needs. Understanding the signs that you may need help and the steps you can take to move forward are presented here as a place to get started. There are resources available that you may not be aware of, so check with your family physician or therapist for more information.
3 Signs You May Need Self-Care
Depression: Feeling down when something upsetting or stressful happens is normal, usually the feelings fade over time and you get on with life. But if it’s depression, the feelings don’t go away, even when things improve, and if it becomes serious, you should contact your physician or look for a therapist right away.
Burnout: Some signs you’re experiencing burnout can be seeing less of your family and friends, and feeling hopeless and helpless. Changes in eating habits and weight, and getting sick more often are signs you may be suffering burnout.
Decreased Relationship Satisfaction Signs: You may have just stopped arguing altogether, you prioritize your friends over your partner, you are no longer interested in intimacy, or you start picking fights. It’s possible to fix broken relationships, but it requires a desire to do so and an understanding that it will take some effort.
Hire Outside Help. You may be feeling like you’ve exhausted friends and family for help and so you’re trying to go it alone. You definitely need a break but you’re not sure that there’s someone suited to help your child with special needs. As Care.com notes, you may be eligible for Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Centers. You can check with your doctor or local public health department to determine your eligibility. Or look for more mature sitters with experience and patience to care for your child on a part-time or as-needed basis.
Start Your Own Business. By being your own boss, you can determine the number of hours or workload you’re able to handle. Work that you can perform while your child is at school, napping, or even when they’ve gone to bed for the evening can not only add to your income, but boost your self-esteem, confidence, and the feeling of being your own person. You’ll want to separate your personal finances from your business finances in order to reduce not only your anxiety but your paperwork and tax burden. This is done by structuring your business as a limited liability company. You can do this yourself online since it’s an easy and inexpensive process, saving you money in legal fees as well.
Go Back to School. There are few things that can make us feel as empowered than an education. Caregivers devote so much time to others that they don’t think going back to school is even an option. However, with the ability to take classes online with accredited universities and colleges, it’s possible to earn a degree from home at your own pace and schedule.
It is possible to take self-care too far to the extent where you’re allowing it to interfere with other activities, so be mindful of this, too. In the end, remember that taking care of yourself is the first step to taking care of others.
Written by Laura Pearson, Edutude
Posted by Michelle Reines, NFPN Executive Director