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Are You a Parent of a Child with Autism Struggling With Fatigue? Here’s How to Overcome It
Written by Jenny Wise firstname.lastname@example.org
Approximately 7.1 million children in the United States receive special education services. If you’re a parent of a child with autism, you face unique struggles. You may lose your sense of self due to the demands of providing care. Plus, you’re likely battling low energy levels.
While the occasional bout of tiredness isn’t typically a reason for concern, ongoing fatigue is an issue. Along with harming your effectiveness as a parent, it impacts the rest of your life.
If you’re a parent with an autistic child, assessing your fatigue levels and creating an effective plan is a must. Here’s how to get started.
Assessing Your Fatigue
Assessing your level of fatigue is surprisingly simple. By reflecting on specific areas of your life, you can gauge the situation with reasonable accuracy. Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do I have symptoms of anxiety or depression?
- Is my parenting effectiveness changing?
- Am I seeing reductions in my physical activity capacity?
- Is my sleep quality poor?
How you’re currently responding to stress and how you view your special needs child are also potential indicators. If you’re short-tempered, resentful, or feeling trapped, you could be on your way to parental burnout. However, even if you’re not, prompt action is essential to ensure you don’t get there.
Addressing Your Fatigue
Understanding your level of fatigue is only part of the equation. Now, it’s time to find ways to care for yourself, allowing you to reduce stress levels and reclaim a sense of self. Here are some options that you may want to try.
Pursue a Personal Goal
Prioritizing a personal goal is a great way to recapture your sense of self. Any objective can potentially work, too. If you want to own a business, get a degree, or start a new hobby, those are worth pursuing if they’ll help restore your mental health and leave you feeling invigorated.
If you’re currently in an unrewarding or stressful job, finding a new one is another excellent personal goal to pursue. Before hunting for opportunities, make sure you have a stellar resume by using a resume builder. You can select from a library of professional templates, giving you a strong foundation. Then, add your own copy, photos, colors, and images to create your ideal resume.
Appreciate the Little Things
While raising a child is frustrating at times, it’s also magical. The problem is, when you’re fatigued, it’s harder to notice the good stuff.
If you’re struggling with fatigue, work to recognize the small, amazing moments during your day. Relish in your child’s laugh, stop to appreciate their smile and marvel at their imagination as they play. By ensuring you notice the positives, you’ll remind yourself how special this time is, potentially making it easier to overcome fatigue.
Many forms of self-care take very little time. Pausing to read your favorite poem or a motivating affirmation can take just a minute or two. A yoga sun salutation series usually requires less than ten minutes, and there are three-minute guided meditations for stress relief that are surprisingly effective.
Making yourself your favorite warm drink is another excellent way to engage in micro-self-care. The same goes for watching a funny video. Try to drink more water and find 10 minutes to meditate. Consider how you can fit small moments of joy into your day and turn them into micro-self-care activities. Then, you can address your fatigue in quick, frequent bursts.
A Warning About Unwanted Outcomes
It’s important to understand that self-care isn’t a substitute for medical care. Since fatigue is a symptom of many conditions, it’s best to see a medical professional immediately if your fatigue is persistent, particularly if you’re already engaging in self-care.
Additionally, ensuring you aren’t overburdening your support system as you ask for time for self-care is essential. When you lean too hard, it could lead others to resent you, particularly if you’re using self-care to avoid your child-rearing responsibilities.
Make sure you aim for balance. That way, you can engage with self-care while still being a good parent.
The Social Chase is a program started by Helen Taylor, a mom, to organize fun events for late teens to young adults on the spectrum and with special abilities. It is a parent support group; parents must remain with The Social Chasers during the events. We have “Free to Be Me” events at the bowling alley, go kart racing, board game nights, hockey games, and The Art of Yum cooking classes (www.theartofyum.com).
For more information, please visit our website or contact us today!