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Self-Care Must Be a Priority for Caregivers of Special Needs Children

By Amanda Henderson

Self-Care Must Be a Priority for Caregivers of Special Needs Children

Parenting a child with special needs isn’t easy. Many unique challenges come with this major responsibility, and self-care often falls by the wayside as the parent tries to ensure the child has what they need. This can lead to caregiver fatigue, which can have a negative impact on the care the parent can provide for the child. This article, brought to you by The Giggling Pig, explains the need for caregiver self-care and tips to combat fatigue.

Self-care is important for any caregiving parent. This enables them to take care of their own needs while they’re working to meet the child's needs. Ask yourself these questions to determine if you’re suffering from caregiver fatigue:

  • How are you and your child sleeping?

  • Are you showing symptoms of anxiety or depression?

  • How satisfied are you with your marriage?

  • How much of a burden is your caregiving responsibility?

If you have any signs of fatigue, take steps to rectify the situation. Consider these tips.

Set Goals

Caregiving can make you feel as though you’re not accomplishing much because you’re focused on the child’s needs. One of the first things to do for your self-care program is set goals. Think about the aspects of your life that don’t have to do with your child. All of these must focus only on you.

As you’re setting goals, think about different areas of your life. Your career, fitness, mental health, and hobbies all require their own goals. Make a large, final goal. Additionally, include smaller goals that help you to remain focused on your self-care.

Set yourself up for success by creating a positive home environment. Reducing clutter can make a space seem more open. Adding bits of color around the house, including houseplants, can lift the spirits.

Pursue a Degree

One thing that can have a positive impact on your life is obtaining a degree, and taking classes online can make this easier. Choose an accredited institution that enables you to work at your own pace, so you can handle the workload while still fulfilling your caregiver responsibilities. Having your bachelor’s degree may make it easier for you to improve your financial situation.

Another bonus to having your degree is that you may be able to start a business. This can bring in money while you care for your child. If you do this, consider forming a limited liability company since it offers protection for your personal assets, doesn’t require much paperwork, and comes with tax advantages. Review your local regulations, so you know the rules in your state for forming this type of business.

Prepare for Challenges

Sometimes, challenging situations occur when you’re trying to better yourself. Because you have to try to balance your own goals with taking care of your children, you need to think about issues that might lead to you counting on your support system too much. Pay close attention to your mental health since you’re adding in new responsibilities as you better yourself. Don’t overlook symptoms of conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Find Your Balance

Life as the parent of a child who has special needs is all about finding the balance of self-care and caring for your child. Once you find that balance, you can enjoy the success that you deserve.

The Giggling Pig teaches children of all ages about kindness and compassion through art. For more information, call (203) 919-1153.

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