Caring for a child who has special needs is challenging, which can lead to the parents becoming fatigued. It’s easy to become so focused on your child’s needs that you place your own on the back burner, but this can often mean that you become so fatigued that you can’t provide your child with the care they need.
It’s critical that parents who also serve as caregivers evaluate themselves often to determine what adjustments they need to make for self-care. In some cases, this may mean using services, such as respite care, so you can have time to take care of your own needs.
Determine How Your Fatigue Impacts Your Life
Look into how caregiving as a whole is impacting you and your child. The simple fact is that becoming fatigued can stem from several things, and it can lead to many other problems.
Caregiving is time-consuming. Medically complex children require considerably more care than most other children who are the same age. This could mean that you’re going without physical activity or sleep in an effort to provide that care.
The time that you’re spending caring for your child could also mean that your relationships suffer, including your marriage, friendships, and family relationships. When you’re a caregiver, you need to have a strong support system, so being able to maintain and strengthen these ties benefits you and your children.
Look Realistically at the Possible Outcomes of Ignoring Self Care
Ignoring self-care can lead to mental health challenges. You may become depressed or experience symptoms of anxiety. In some cases, fatigue can exacerbate those conditions.
Another outcome of ignoring self-care is that you may become more irritable than you would be otherwise. This could impact your child because they may start to exhibit behavioral issues. It’s possible that you could be a bit calmer in every area of your life if you were well-rested.
Prioritize the Pursuit of Personal Goals
As you’re working to improve your self-care, you’ll need to set goals. You may be shocked to learn that your friends and family members may not fully support your need to work toward your own goals. Sometimes, this journey comes with costs. You may realize that you’re trying to put too much responsibility on your personal support network or that you may be taking self-care to a higher level than what’s necessary.
Finding a way to still care for your child while you take care of yourself is important. For example, you might want to pursue higher education. Consider doing this through an accredited online institution that enables you to work on your degree at your own pace and in your own home. This could provide you with the educational backing you need to embark on a meaningful career.
Balance Is Critically Important
Raising a child who has special needs requires you to balance their needs with your own. This can be challenging sometimes. Becoming familiar with resources in the Santa Ana area can be beneficial.
Check out the Santa Ana Police Officers Association for special services within the community.
Article submitted by Gwen Payne
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