As a parent of special needs and ordinary children can be stressful, exhausting, and overwhelming. Many stressors can affect you including a long to-do list, kids misbehaving, lack of sleep, sickness, marriage issues, schedule overload, etc. How do you deal with stress? Here are some ideas:
1. Take a short break
During the moment of stress, sometimes you just need to take a short break. Stop what your doing. Maybe take a deep breath and breath through your nose and out your mouth. Or do something else for a little while, then return to what was frustrating you or stressing you out.
2. Get additional help
If taking care of your special needs child and other children, working, cleaning your house, having loads of laundry, etc is too much, then you may want to delegate others to help you.
Perhaps your child can have a nurse. Your child may be eligible for a certain amount of nursing hours in the state in which you live. Additionally, programs such as Department
Ask a family member for additional help
Additionally, you can possibly ask a family member to help with your special needs child, your other children, cleaning, or laundry. Even having 1-2 hours a week of assistance would make a difference. A family member could also watch your children while you run errands, have a date night, or have some self-care time.
Balancing care for a special needs child and maintaining a clean house not only takes a significant amount of time but also is difficult. If you can afford a cleaning service weekly, biweekly or monthly, house cleaning can be crossed off your list and you will have extra time.
Hiring a sitter
Another way to gain additional help for yourself is to hire a sitter to watch your special needs child and other children at a variety of times. You may want a sitter if you want to go on a date with your spouse. Moreover, perhaps you want to go shopping without kids. Moms, maybe you want to be pampered at the salon by getting your hair or nails done.
When looking for a sitter for your special needs child, you need to ensure that they are trained to take care of your child including emergency care. If your child had specific medical needs such as needing G tube feedings, the sitter would need to have knowledge in that area as well.
3. Enroll your child in school
One major way to get a break from caring for your special needs child is to enroll them in a school and therapy program. Most school districts will provide transportation as well. Your child will more than likely participate in school most of the day.
An additional option to have extra time to yourself to distress is having your child participate in private therapies including speech, occupational, physical therapy, hippotherapy, and aqua therapy. Private therapies can occur in your home or at a facility. While a therapist is working with your child for an hour, sometimes 2 hours, you as a parent can do something else for that length of time if desired. While your child has therapy at a facility, you can run an errand for the length of the therapy. At times your child has private therapy at home, and you are able to do items done at home.
4. Participate in favorite activities
When we participate in the activities that we like the most, we are usually happy and stress-free. Usually, we only think about the activity that we are engaged in at the time, not the day-to-day stressors. Perhaps you like to paint, draw, make cards, watch movies, read a book or meditate. Engaging in enjoyable activities or hobbies is a wonderful way to relieve stress and relax.
To continue to be healthy physically and mentally, the recommendation is to exercise three times per week at a minimum. Life is super busy. You probably have tons to do including taking care of your special needs child and other children on a daily basis. However, finding the time for a weekly exercise routine is essential. Figure out what type of exercise works for you and stick to it.
Here are some ideas:
- Walk or rum around your neighborhood.
- Join a gym
- Lift weights
- Play a sport
- Attend Jazzercise http://www.jazzercise.com
- Participate in a kickboxing or yoga class
- Join a martial arts class
- Exercise to a workout video in your home
- Invest in your own exercise equipment and workout at home.
6. Go outside & get some fresh air
Being outside in the fresh air is a great way to destress and take a break from the day-to-day routine. You also consume Vitamin D and maybe get some sun.
Some fresh outdoor activities:
- Play with your kids outside
- Sit outside in your yard, at a sporting event or outdoor concert
- Walk, run or ride a bicycle around your neighborhood or at a forest perserve
- Sit in front of a bonfire if you have a fire pit.
7. Attend weekly counseling sessions
Special needs parents often face a unique set of challenges. With the added responsibility of caring for a child with special needs, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and alone. Counseling can provide a much-needed outlet for parents to express their emotions and share their experiences. In addition, counseling can help Special Needs parents develop coping skills and find support from others who understand what they are going through. Weekly counseling sessions can provide Special Needs parents with the tools they need to navigate the challenges of parenting.
8. Develop close friendships; be a part of a community
Special needs parents often find themselves feeling overwhelmed. Their children’s challenges can make it difficult to connect with other parents, and they may not have the same support network as their neurotypical peers. As a result, developing close friendships with other special needs parents can be invaluable. These relationships provide much-needed emotional support, and they can also be a source of practical advice and information. In addition, being part of a community of special needs parents can help normalize the experience and make it feel less isolating. For Special needs parents, close friendships and a sense of community can be essential for coping with the challenges of parenting.
9. Attend a church
Special needs parents often face unique challenges that can be difficult to navigate alone. From finding the right resources to dealing with daily stressors, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. However, attending a community church that meets your spiritual needs can help to ease the burden.
At your local church, you can find community and support from friends who will pray for you and offer practical assistance. In addition, churches often have networks of resources that can be helpful for special needs families. By connecting with other parents or fellow church members in a church setting, they can share tips and advice, and build a strong support system. As a result, attending a community church can be an essential asset for special needs parents.
Special needs parents often feel like they are on a never-ending roller coaster of appointments, therapies, and interventions. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and forget to take care of yourself. However, self-care is essential for maintaining your own mental health and being able to effectively care for your child.
One way to destress is to meditate. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. There are many guided meditation apps available that can help you get started. Even just a few minutes of meditation can help to clear your mind and reduce stress levels. So take a deep breath, close your eyes, and give it a try.
11. Listen to music
Special needs parents often find themselves under a lot of stress. Their days are filled with worrying about their child’s health, education, and future and other life struggles. In addition, they often feel isolated and alone, as many of their friends and family members do not understand what they are going through.
One way to help relieve some of this stress is to listen to your favorite music. Music can provide a much-needed distraction from your worries and concerns. It can also boost your mood and help you to feel more connected to others. In addition, studies have shown that listening to music can help to reduce stress levels. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, pop in your headphones and let your favorite tunes help you to relax.
12. Read a book
Special needs parents often find themselves under a lot of stress. They may feel like they are constantly juggling demands and never have a moment to themselves. However, there is one simple activity that can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation: reading a book.
When you read, you can forget about your worries and problems for a little while and lose yourself in another world. Moreover, reading can help to improve your mood and increase your level of empathy. So if you’re feeling stressed, reach for a book instead of the television remote. You might just find that it’s the perfect way to unwind.
13. Listen to a podcast
Parenting is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging, experiences a person can have. It can be especially difficult for parents of children with special needs, who often face additional challenges and stresses.
However, there are many ways to help manage the stress of parenting, and one of the most effective is to simply take a break and relax. One way to do this is to listen to a podcast. There are now many podcasts specifically geared towards special needs parents, offering advice, support, and even just a moment of distraction. By taking a few minutes out of your day to listen to a podcast, you can help yourself destress and feel more prepared to handle the challenges of parenting.
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