When you are a caregiver to a special needs child, it's incredibly easy to get tunnel vision and focus only on their needs. It's always well-intentioned but it can be a very slippery slope when it comes to important basic needs like sleep and stress management. People become so used to living their lives this way that the extreme impact on their minds and bodies is sometimes overlooked. Everyone has their limits and we have a few tips for making sure no one reaches their breaking point!
1. Find Someone You Trust
It's important that you are able to express your true feelings to someone in your inner-circle. Whether that be a trusted friend, family member, or a fellow special-needs parent, you must find someone you can vent to. Everyone has frustrations and a judgment free zone in which to air those will keep you in tune with your emotions and also help you gauge when you need to call for a break.
2. Take A Break
That's right. We said it. It can feel impossible to find even an hour in your week for yourself but even if you have to schedule it out weeks in advance, you must find time for your own needs. Taking care of yourself is NOT a luxury and if you're going to continue to be an efficient caregiver, it is an absolute necessity.
3. Set Realistic Daily Goals
They say a goal without a plan is just a dream, and in the case of special-needs children, that is especially true. Think about your day and week and try to set yourself up for success. Don't set early morning appointments if you know it takes your child an extremely long time to get their day started. If you rush your mornings and start out your day running late, you've just made your whole day off track. Set limits for yourself and your child and protect them fiercely - you know best what you can handle and if that means something has to wait a few days, it usually can.