7 Self-Care Tips for Parents of Special Needs Children

Parenting children is already challenging enough, but parenting a special needs child requires more energy than most people realize. When you’re not knee deep in therapy appointments or taking care of medical needs, being a constant caregiver can drain you. It’s important for parents of special needs children to create a self-care plan. It may not be as extensive as someone in a different situation, but it is vital if you want to avoid caregiver burnout.

Don’t Self-Medicate

One of the tendencies of people in high-stress situations is to self-medicate. This can be with alcohol and even drugs. Most people who get addicted don’t start off planning to abuse drugs, they are simply looking for relief from stress and traumatic circumstances. Even people who are trying to detox from drug addiction, can be caught up in abusing those legal medications as well. When you’re left wondering how long does Subutex stay in your system, you know you might need help. While Subutex is helpful for people with opioid addiction, it too can be abused. If the medication is no longer working for what you need it for, it’s important to ask your medical professional for something new. It might be that you’ve developed a tolerance to the drug, and you need something else.

Get Professional Help

It’s okay to not be okay. When you’re dealing with all the extras that special needs children require, you might need someone to talk to. There are often feelings of anger and guilt that arise that are all okay and natural to feel. But you need someone who can help you process these emotions in a healthy way. Getting professional help either through individual or group therapy is a must. You can converse with other parents who share similar struggles as you do and find healthy and positive ways to cope with and process all the emotions you’re feeling.

Seek Out Respite Care

Respite care is like babysitting, but better. Specially trained individuals can come to your home for a day or a weekend to give parents of special needs children a much-needed break. When you are caring for a child 24/7, it drains you. Getting a weekend away can give you the rest you need to come back and be your best for your child. Respite care is often covered by healthcare policies to ensure families get time in between caring for their child. Another idea, along with respite care, is to hire someone to clean your house. This can also help relieve added stress.

Go Outside

Staying inside can get draining. Get your child ready and go outside for a walk, sit in the sun, or get an outdoor hobby like gardening. Going outside improves your mood, which is important for anyone, not just parents of special needs children. Sometimes going outdoors is exactly what you need to refresh and revitalize yourself. The fresh air, the sunshine, and the greenery all work together to boost your mood. Spending time outside also helps regulate sleep cycles, so if you’re struggling with sleep, spend some time outside.

Take a Break

It might sound impossible, but it’s okay to take a break from it all. Stop reading books and research about your child’s needs, stop reading stories. Stop doing things only related to them. Take a break. It’s okay to give yourself the mental separation you need from everything going on. It’s okay to not be constantly either caring for your child or figuring out better ways to care for your child. Read a book for fun, grab a cup of coffee with a friend, and give yourself the break you need.

Get a Hobby

Finding time for a hobby doesn’t need to be time consuming. Take up painting, create model cars, music, and more. There are many things you can do in your home while you care for your special needs child. Having a hobby gives you a way to stay busy doing something for yourself instead of always giving to others. And it also shows your child interesting things that can be done. It may be that you can modify your hobby to give your child something to do as well.

Take Care of Your Health

Rest as much as you can even if it means you and your partner take turns caring for your child. Eat healthy foods. Enjoy lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and avoid too much processed food. Get out and exercise or get fitness equipment to have at home. Your health matters, and if you care for it, you’ll be better able to care for the health of another.