Today’s blog is brought to you by Gwen Payne at InvisableMoms.com:
When you’re a parent, you devote most of your time and energy to caring for your kids. The demands on you increase drastically when you have a child with special needs, and it’s important for you to find a way to practice self-care so that you can be the best parent possible. Here are four tips from Practical Parenting Advice that can help develop a self-care plan to make you a better parent to kids with special needs.
Assess Your Fatigue Level
Before you can successfully implement a self-care plan, you must determine your level of fatigue. Parental fatigue varies each day, but if you find yourself more irritable and feel like your parenting style is not effective, you may be in the beginning stages of burnout. It’s important to recognize the signs and start taking care of yourself before your fatigue reaches this level. Analyzing four factors can help you determine the true level of your fatigue:
- The amount of time you dedicate to caring strictly for your kids with special needs
- Your satisfaction with your relationship with your spouse
- The amount of anxiety and depression you feel
- The quality of your social support
Assessing your level of parental fatigue is important for forming an effective self-care plan. If you are not aware of the true state of your fatigue, you could end up undertreating serious health problems or burdening your support network in an effort to take care of yourself instead of your children. Being a good parent requires you to find the right balance between caring for your children and yourself.
Set Personal Goals
Being a parent becomes part of your identity, but it shouldn’t take over your entire life. It’s important to set personal goals so you can better yourself as a person. Whether you choose to go back to school, start a business or improve your exercise routine, it’s important to grow yourself as a person by setting goals.
Starting a business can be a great way to revive a long-lost passion, and at the same time allow you to adjust your work to support your personal life as needed. Think of a way to turn a passion into something marketable, and then research how to start an LLC. Each state has different requirements, so look into what you need to get established where you live. You can file yourself or work with a formation company. Either way, you’ll know you’re on your way to fulfilling a dream and doing what you love.
Improve Your Nutrition
The type of food you consume has a direct impact on your fatigue and overall mental health. If you eat a lot of processed foods, you probably feel more fatigued than if you consume a diet of mostly whole foods. While you can indulge in your favorite foods occasionally, if you improve your eating habits by introducing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your diet, you will likely feel less fatigued during your daily routine.
Make Sleep a Priority
According to one survey, only 5% of new parents get enough sleep at night to feel well-rested. While many kids start to develop better sleep habits after their first year of life, sleep problems often plague children with special needs. This means that parents of kids with special needs often do not get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night. Taking the following measures to improve your sleep habits can help your fatigue levels:
- Set a time to go to bed and wake up
- Avoid screens before bed
- Try a sleeping aid
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature
Parenting is never easy, but it can be particularly challenging when you have one or more children with special needs. Using these tips is a good way to build self-care into your routine so that you can be a better parent.