Being a parent of a child with a disability is hard. Whether it’s keeping up with a busy therapy schedule, the physical demands of carrying a child who can’t move themselves, or just the emotional stress of thinking about the future, it’s important for parents to make sure to take care of themselves.
Here are some coping strategies to help you deal with the stresses in your life.
- Be okay with how you feel. Often, we feel guilty for feeling stressed because it takes attention away from our children. That leads to further stress. The key thing here is to be okay with the way you feel and understand that your feelings are valid. This is the first step to effectively managing your stress level.
- Create good routines and habits. It’s easy to say that you want to exercise more or get more sleep, but it’s much more difficult to make it happen. Create daily routines or habits that encourage you to accomplish your health-related goals. Start small and build up to your goals.
- Talk to someone. Many of us deal daily with our children’s mental health challenges and don’t really think about our own. All of us know how effective therapy can be. So maybe we should seek out professional help for ourselves to be the best, healthiest parent we can be. This is also where finding a network of parents who understand what you’re going through can help. Find people who understand you and your routine and use them as a listening ear. You can connect with others on our Find Parent Groups by County page. https://www.navigatelifetexas.org/en/services-groups-events/find-parent-groups-by-county
- Learn to say “no.” It’s okay to say no in an effort to create time and space for yourself. Saying no is a healthy way to set boundaries, as well as a great way to manage your priorities.
- Ask for help. Whether it’s local community agencies, family, or friends, it’s okay to ask for help. We think that we have to be Supermom or Superdad and do everything – but sometimes we can’t. Many of the people who love us are wondering what they can do to make our lives easier. They might not be able to go to a doctor’s appointment for us, but they might be able to give a child a ride to therapy or pick up a prescription. Every little bit helps.
It’s important to take care of our physical and mental health. The first step in taking care of our kids is taking care of ourselves.
Find more information on Self-Care for Parents of Children with Disabilities