Overall, according to Pew Research Center, 14 percent of students in the United States participate in a special education program. If you’re the parent of a special needs child, you’ve likely experienced your fair share of fatigue along the way.
While it is mainly normal to feel tired or frustrated on occasion, it’s possible to combat fatigue by using the right approach. Funtastic Learning Toys shows how you can assess your level of fatigue and work to overcome it.
A Word of Caution Before Beginning
Before you worry about assessing your fatigue levels or coming up with a self-care plan, it’s essential to learn about unwanted outcomes you’ll need to avoid.
In some cases, starting on a self-care journey can cause a parent to lean too heavily on their spouse or support system, using self-care as a justification for neglecting their responsibilities and placing them on others. If this occurs, resentment often builds, damaging critical relationships.
Additionally, it’s crucial to realize that fatigue is a symptom of a wide range of medical conditions, including sleep disorders, anemia, chronic liver disease, and many more. In those cases, self-care usually isn’t enough to resolve the fatigue. Instead, treatment from a medical professional is essential. As a result, if your fatigue is persistent, it’s wise to speak with your doctor to ensure an underlying health condition isn’t responsible.
Assessing Your Fatigue as the Parent of a Special Needs Child
Fatigue isn’t something you can measure with a simple test. Instead, you have to reflect on how you’re thinking and feeling, allowing you to gauge its impact with greater ease.
A straightforward way to start is by asking yourself specific questions. “Has my parenting effectiveness changed?” is a solid beginning point, notes The Center for Parenting Education, allowing you to see if fatigue is impacting your approach to child-rearing. Asking yourself, “Has my marital satisfaction declined?” can help you determine how fatigue may be affecting your relationships. Questions like, “Is my sleep quality poor?” and “Has my physical capacity declined?” are also wise options, making it easier to determine if fatigue is harming you directly. Spend time reflecting on your answers. That way, you can assess your level of fatigue with greater ease.
Self-Care Options for Parents of Special Needs Children
Finding time for self-care can be challenging for parents of special needs children. That’s why using the right approach is critical.
First, it’s wise to embrace the concept of micro-self-care. With micro-self-care, you focus on activities that take less than 10 minutes to complete, making them easier to fit into a busy schedule. There are a wide variety of micro-self-care options. Reading a favorite poem or fixing a glass of your favorite hot beverage can be easy ways to start. Reciting a few positive affirmations is also worthwhile, along with doing a three-minute meditation or breathing exercise.
If you want to move a bit, consider yoga sun salutations. You can complete a couple of rounds in less than 10 minutes, letting you focus on your body and movements, reducing stress, and keeping you limber.
If your current employment isn’t bringing you much satisfaction other than a paycheck, you may also be considering applying for a part-time or virtual job. Switching to a more fulfilling job can do wonders for your self-care strategy, plus it may allow you to work from home and be able to be more hands-on as you raise your child. This calls for having an updated resume to send to possible employers and have on hand when it comes interview time. Fortunately, using a resume builder makes creating and downloading a professional-looking resume easier and quicker than ever thanks to templates that can be used with your choice of color combos, graphics and fonts.
Along with micro-self-care, find ways to pursue a personal goal. That way, you’re moving toward something you want, giving you a target that you can look forward to reaching. Getting a degree online can be a great way to head toward your goals. It’ll give you a strong foundation for a dream career. Plus, with online coursework, you can get a degree from an accredited institution at your own pace, making school-work-life balance possible.
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