Parental Fatigue and Kids with Special Needs: How to Create a Self-Care Treatment Plan

By Janice Russell

For parents of kids with special needs, fatigue can be a severe problem that threatens to derail your family life and put your health at risk. So it’s vital to take stock of your fatigue levels, create a self-care treatment plan, and monitor your progress to make sure you’re improving. Today, POCWASN shares some steps to help you create an effective self-care treatment plan for parental fatigue.

Recognizing When You’re Fatigued

Some signs that you’re under more stress than your body can handle are trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, brain fog, or moodiness. If you experience any of these symptoms frequently, it could mean that you need some self-care time. Consider the following when assessing fatigue levels:

  • Your parenting effectiveness
  • Your sleep quality
  • Your depression and anxiety levels
  • Your level of physical activity

Creating a Treatment Plan

Reducing fatigue without sacrificing caregiving duties is the goal. The best way to do that is to make an action plan that limits your responsibilities and conserves your energy. Are there any other family members that might help from time to time? You may want to optimize your diet as part of your treatment plan. Ensure you get enough quality protein, carbohydrates, fat, and fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Also, get plenty of high-quality sleep — at least eight hours each night.

Remember that mental health is just as important as physical health in dealing with parental fatigue. Try to find ways to reduce stress or anxiety, whether it’s through a good yoga class, having tea with friends, or getting out into nature. Here are some helpful tips to manage over-fatigue:

  • Mind your fatigue level. If you’re over-fatigued, stop what you’re doing.
  • Look at your stressors. Determine which ones can be reduced or eliminated.
  • Take a break. Eat something nutritious (not processed junk), go for a walk, or call someone who supports you.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Don’t push yourself unnecessarily.

Create a Wellness Atmosphere 

Having plants in your home is an effective way to decorate and improves your mood. People feel better when they’re around plants because they have a calming effect. In addition, clutter can harm your mental health. People who live in cluttered homes are more likely to experience depression and other symptoms of stress. So, if you’re trying to recover from fatigue caused by taking care of a child with special needs, declutter your home and add some houseplants.

Pursuing Personal Goals

Learn new skills, expand your knowledge, and have fun all at once by pursuing personal goals. Consider going back to school, starting your own LLC, or starting a new hobby. Do you have an interest that doesn’t get enough attention? Maybe it’s time to start learning something new. Whether you want to learn how to scuba dive or take up meditation, reading professional development articles on how others achieved their goals can serve as inspiration. You may even find yourself getting involved in online communities that share your interests.

Prevent Further Issues

Parenting can be tough under the best of circumstances, and the parents of kids with special needs already face unique struggles. Fatigue can cause health problems — and not just physical ones. However, you can take steps to prevent things from getting worse and keep you at your best.

POCWASN focuses on ensuring the health and wellbeing of those caring for special needs individuals to address the unique and pervasive physical and emotional challenges of their caregiving role from a place of health and wellbeing. Our self-care services offer relief and relaxation from the stress that many of us face in our day-to-day lives. Call (818) 322-3407.

Image via Pexels

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