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Millions of parents and guardians around the world are caring for children with special needs. If you are one of these caregivers, you may find yourself feeling particularly fatigued. Fortunately, there are a variety of things you can do to take better care of yourself so that you can, in turn, give your child the best care possible. Here are some helpful guidelines.
The best way to prevent fatigue is to get adequate rest. Sleep quality metrics can help you determine how good your sleep is. How long does it take you to fall asleep? How frequently do you wake up during the night? A sleep tracker can monitor these things for you and make it easier for you to assess your sleep.
Make sure your bedroom is cool and dark. Keep your bedroom organized and invest in a few mood-boosting indoor plants. Use a comfortable mattress and pillow. A topper can revive an old mattress for much less than the cost of a new one. Do your best to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
Making time for yourself is key to maintaining your energy levels. Eat nutritiously and exercise regularly. Find a hobby to give your brain a break from parenting and work. Lean on your support network as needed, and consider joining a specialized group if you need more support than your family and friends can provide.
Outside of family, your work is likely to be the biggest aspect of your life, so it is important that your career be as fulfilling as possible. Some parents choose to start a small business or freelance career because of the flexibility associated with being one’s own boss.
Other parents decide to return to school. Furthering your education is a great way to advance or switch careers. It may feel overwhelming to go back to school, whether online or in person, but it is possible. Time management and other strategies are essential to your success. You may not be able to take a full course load, but that’s OK. Speak with an academic advisor to plan out your courses and path to graduation.
As you work on your self-care, be sure not to confuse more serious mental health conditions for stress. For example, both stress and depression can cause fatigue. It can be difficult for a layperson to distinguish the two in some cases, so speak with your doctor if you are unsure.
When you lean on your social support, be sure to reciprocate good friendship. Be there for others as much as they are for you.
Although taking care of a child with special needs is often challenging, remembering to care for yourself can give you the energy levels necessary to be the best parent you can be. In particular, get enough sleep and take time to relax and pursue activities that you enjoy.
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Article written by Gwen Payne, InvisibleMoms.com