I think most moms of children with special needs would agree with me when I say that we usually have way too much going on!
From the minute we force ourselves out of bed each morning we hit the ground running!
Not only do we need to get ourselves up but we also gotta get our kids up and ready for the day.
For some of us this can be quite time consuming, especially if we have to do all or most of the work for them!
After dressing, feeding and cleaning up, we’re out the door racing around to school, various therapy and doctor appointments, after school enrichment activities and making sure the homework gets done.
Suddenly before you know it, it’s time for dinner and baths and then finally getting them snuggled down all comfy and cozy into bed and off to dreamland!
But getting the kids to bed does not necessarily mean we are finally off duty!
Many of our kids have trouble falling and staying asleep!
And just when it seems we have finally given into exhaustion and fallen asleep ourselves it’s time to do it all over again the next day.
For those of us whose children will never grow up, there is no end in sight!
Then if you add in that some of us are homeschoolers and/or working moms, life gets even more hectic and crazier!!
It’s no wonder we’re always exhausted and have no energy to focus on ourselves or our own mental well being!
Actually, when you really stop and think about it, we special needs moms have quite a few of our own unique special needs to consider!!
For quite a few years after Bethany was finally discharged from an extended hospital stay where she had been battling a brain tumor, I refused any and all help in getting respite from caring for her.
Her health was so delicate and precarious, that I just could not bear to take a break, turn my back on her, walk away, and leave her in the care of someone else.
Eventually, though I finally did realize that I was suffering with a few symptoms of caregiver burnout.
- I was grouchy all the time and would snap at and yell at my kids and husband.
- I felt like I was riding a roller coaster of emotions, including anger, depression and feeling helpless and hopeless.
- I was no longer enjoying any of the activities that I had once loved.
- I had isolated myself away from family and friends.
I Knew I needed to stop neglecting my own mental well being and concentrate on nurturing myself a little bit, or I would be in no shape to continue caring for my family.
The following suggestions are what I did to begin focusing on my own mental health so that I could continue giving Bethany and the rest of my family my all and my best!
- I Joined a support group with others who shared my circumstances.
- I Found someone I trusted to talk to and felt safe confiding in.
- I asked for help from friends and family.
- I applied to the appropriate agencies for respite help and now use it regularly.
- I periodically schedule some “me” time or “alone” time away from Bethany so I can enjoying reading, getting out in nature, or going out with my husband.
- I schedule time for someone to keep Bethany occupied so I can to attend to tasks that are difficult to accomplish with her constant interruptions.
- I try to exercise regularly.
- I eat healthy and nutritional foods (most of the time!)
- I started a hobby, making handcrafted books.
- I try to get enough sleep which is easier said than actually accomplished!
- Keeping a journal is also suggested by experts. Blogging and vlogging are my ways of both keeping a journal and telling our story. Both of which have been very therapeutic for me!!
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