The Importance of Self-care as a Parent of a Special Needs Child
by Anya Willis
The Importance of Self-Care as a Parent of a Special Needs Child
Putting yourself first can feel selfish as a parent, but it is vital to your well-being and that of your children. Setting aside even a small amount of time each day to tend to yourself will bring noticeable changes to your quality of life. From nurturing hobbies to changing careers, you can break your big goals into small steps and start making changes today. Today, Solving Behaviour offers some tips to help you understand your level of parental fatigue and create a plan that honours the importance of self-care as a parent of a special needs child.
Find Your Challenges
The first step in your wellness journey is determining what areas need immediate attention. To understand your level of parental fatigue, evaluate your parenting effectiveness, mental health, and physical health. Look at your levels of anxiety and depression and see if you may be more burdened than you realised. Assess the quality of your relationships, especially your marriage, and see how they can be improved. Look at any challenging parenting hardships and identify ways you might address those to take some stress off your plate.
Take Care of Your Body
Exercise and sleep quality are usually some of the first things that go out the window when parenting – which makes it harder to do your job as a parent. So take a moment to pinpoint what you’re lacking and make a plan to give yourself the space to improve. Women’s Health explains that increasing your movement for even 15 minutes per day can help create beneficial results. Try downloading a sleep tracker to understand how you sleep each night and where to make changes.
Find other ways to improve your health and wellbeing, too. Carrying a reusable bottle can help you make sure you're drinking enough water every day. It’s also important to care for your mental health, so try practising meditation for 10–20 minutes each day.
Enhance Your Home Space
A clean, clutter-free home helps you feel calmer and less overwhelmed. Consider downloading a cleaning plan that allows you to tackle different parts of your house every day so you can keep your home spotless without feeling swamped. Or, if you can, hire a cleaner to come once per month or more to take some of the housekeeping load off of you.
Enhancing your decor in small ways can also make a big impact. The Huffington Post notes that adding more greenery to your home can improve air quality and create an inviting environment. Fresh touches like new area rugs or a quiet space can help you feel at peace.
Embrace Your Goals
Self-sacrificing is natural for many parents, but remembering your own goals can help you feel an extra sense of purpose. If you feel ready for a new career, you may want to consider getting a degree online. Higher education is the perfect way to embark on a new chapter, and now it's easy to do it from the comfort of your living room or home office. Getting a degree at your own pace offers you the flexibility you need while working and parenting.
Keeping a positive mindset is important to success, but don't forget that setbacks don't mean failure. If you encounter an issue along the way, such as trouble sticking to new habits, remember that you are still making progress. Make sure to create balance in your life. Too much self-care can prevent you from effectively parenting and working.
Self-care can be a struggle for anyone, but that goes double for parents of special needs children. However, by taking steps like embracing your goals and keeping a healthy home, you reset your life and remember to love yourself first. Then, you will have a greater amount of love and care to give to those around you.
For advice and resources on dealing with problematic behaviour in children, visit Solving Behaviour today!