As the parent of a special needs child, you face unique challenges. While your little one is undoubtedly a source of great joy in your life, it’s not uncommon for special needs parents to experience burnout. Knowing the signs of parental fatigue and how to tackle them will help you stay healthy and happy.

Today, Future Business Ventures provides an introduction to common symptoms of parental fatigue, as well as some tips on how to handle them.

Know the symptoms of caregiver fatigue

The first step in combating parental fatigue is identifying the symptoms. Familiarize yourself with common signs. According to Healthline, these could include loss of motivation, feelings of helplessness, irritability, and isolating behaviors. You may also experience physical symptoms like trouble sleeping, headaches, and muscle pain.

When assessing your fatigue levels, ask yourself some honest questions about your daily quality of life. Are you parenting effectively? Do you have adequate social support? Does your caregiving burden feel overwhelming? Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of depression and anxiety, such as feelings of apathy, trouble focusing, and ongoing fatigue.

Set up your personal parental fatigue care plan

If you notice signs of fatigue creeping in, take action swiftly to prevent a full-on burnout. Start by taking an immediate break. Massage therapy is a great way to enhance relaxation, alleviate stress, and improve mental health.

Once you’ve had a breather to regroup, look for ways to revamp your child care routine that will give you more time for yourself. You may want to call on friends and family to step in, for example, or arrange for respite services. Perhaps you need to ask your spouse to stand in and give you a break. Or if you can hire a sitter, perhaps you and your spouse could get away and recharge by attending a concert, going to the museum, or or (for baseball fans) picking up some Astros tickets.

The aim is to adapt your routine so that you have more time for your own emotional and physical wellbeing going forward. It may sound counter-intuitive but making time for exercise is another great option because that can actually give you more energy (and stress relief) in the long run.

Proactively address possible negative outcomes of your plan

Change is never easy or immediate. Be prepared for some hurdles as you revamp your child care plan. For example, friends and family may feel that you’re relying on them too much for assistance. It can be helpful to join a support group for parents of special needs kids as you navigate such hurdles. Bayada provides a list of options worth consulting.

Some of the potentially negative fallout you experience may also be internal. You may struggle with feelings of guilt when focusing on yourself, for example. Therapy can help you through these tough moments. Beware of engaging in therapy only partially, which can unveil problems without solving them. Commit to the process completely for success.

Going forward, make more time for yourself

As the parent of a special needs child, it’s easy to get lost in your little one’s needs. Make sure you are taking time for yourself in the future to prevent future instances of fatigue and burnout. Also, incorporate activities into your everyday life that combat stress, such as meditation or going for walks outside.

Taking time for yourself also means refocusing on your goals. For example, maybe you’ve always wanted to start a business. There’s no time like the present! Forming an LLC will simplify the process, providing tax advantages and streamlining paperwork. Every state has its own LLC rules, so check your local guidelines.

Parenting a child with special needs can be a challenge. While you want your little one to be healthy and happy, it’s also important to focus on your own wellbeing. Consult the guide above to help you identify and handle parental fatigue so you can avoid burnout.

Future Business Ventures is a small company founded by U.S. Veterans who have seen people who, through birth or life crisis, have Special Needs. We support children with Special Needs, provide employment to Adults with disabilities, and participate with Local Youth Community Projects.

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How to Handle Parental Fatigue When You Have a Special Needs Child