Self-Care for Moms
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If you are the mother of a child with special needs, you may feel like you have to do everything on your own when in reality, you should have support not only in caring for your child but also in caring for yourself. Without proper self-care, you risk caregiver burnout, also known as compassion fatigue, which can have devastating effects on your health.

Understanding Your Fatigue

Exhaustion is a common parental affliction, but the fatigue felt by a mother of a child with special needs is unmatched. Depending on the nature and severity of your child’s needs, you may rotate being a nurse, doctor, and therapist without time to eat a full meal or take a substantial break. Providing this level of care over a prolonged period is bound to take a toll.

Before you can develop a self-care plan to restore your energy, you need to assess your fatigue levels and identify the primary causes. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. How Is Your Sleep Quality?

The length and quality of your sleep have significant effects on your well-being. Research shows that poor-quality sleep weakens your immune system and increases your risk of diseases such as depression and anxiety. Improving your sleep hygiene can help you reap the benefits of restful slumber.

  1. How Is Your Level of Physical Activity?

Regular exercise boosts energy levels. If you’re feeling excessively sluggish, infusing some more physical activity into your day can help.

  1. How Time-Consuming Is Your Caregiving Burden?

Being a full-time caregiver may mean you’re dealing with demands 24/7 leaving little time for anything else.

Finding Space for Self-Care

You’re more likely to sustain self-care practices when you schedule them into your day. Carve out a daily block for dedicated “me time.”

Spend time on activities that rejuvenate your body and mind. Taking a weekly yoga class strengthens your muscles and improves your ability to ground yourself. Meditation and mindfulness exercises reduce stress. If you’re dealing with chronic pain, take steps to relieve your symptoms.

Your home environment can contribute to your healing or create more stress. Keeping your space organized and decluttered can make you feel more restful. Make any changes you need to promote a healthy atmosphere.

Being Mindful of Potential Challenges

Though your self-care journey should provide you with much-needed healing and rejuvenation, it’s realistic to expect some challenges along the way. Consider potential issues that may arise and create a tentative plan for managing them.

One unintended result of a self-care plan is assuming that any physical or mental symptoms you have are related to compassion fatigue and can be self-treated. Stay attuned to your body’s signals, and if something seems off, seek consultation from a professional.

In caring for yourself, you may also find that your partner is displaying resentment or jealousy. Be clear about your intentions and maintain an open dialogue. Reciprocate their support by giving them ample opportunity for their own self-care.

Aspiring Toward Personal Growth

With a solid self-care plan in place, you can devote more attention to personal goals. Perhaps you have lofty dreams of earning a degree or launching your own business. Maybe you just want to enjoy a hobby or learn a new skill. No matter what’s on your vision board, map out the steps and support you’ll need to turn your dreams into reality.

Think about the things you are passionate about and look for jobs that allow you to pursue those interests. Consider your skills and strengths and look for jobs that play to those strengths. Showcase your experiences and accomplishments in your resume and then use a resume creator to develop a customized resume. Choose a template and then add your own text, fonts, and images.

If you’re planning on starting your own business, give special consideration to your business structure. By registering as an LLC, you’ll gain tax advantages, have less paperwork, and be personally protected from litigation. Register your cheap LLC online through a formation service—just be sure to research the best services available.

Self-care is not a luxury; it is an essential wellness practice. Both you and your child deserve to have a happy and healthy you. Find the time and space to mindfully tend to your needs by counting on your village to lend support when needed. And be sure to prioritize your dreams as well, whether you’re going back to school or starting your own business.

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About our Guest Contributor

Self-Care by Amanda Henderson

Amanda Henderson is a preschool teacher and a mom to two wonderful, active boys.

She enjoys writing in her free time and recently decided to create Safechildren so that she would have a place to share her thoughts and favourite resources on parenting and child safety. 

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