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    Does Your Child Have Special Needs? Don’t Let Your Fatigue Control Your Life

    Blog by guest writer Gwen Payne

    If you’re a parent of a child with special needs, you probably know what it’s like to live everyday life exhausted. Parenting a child without special needs is tiring, but when even more of your time and energy is demanded, it can overwhelm you and take control of your entire life. 


    But here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to. 


    By learning to assess your fatigue levels and identify the culprits, you begin to devise a plan to renew your energy and make positive changes that will benefit yourself and your family.


    Here is some practical information and advice to help you get started, brought to you by Stride Forward Counseling we see clients in Catonsville MD for counseling and through video therapy.


    How Do You Take Care of Yourself?      


    Even if you haven’t assessed your fatigue levels yet, it can help to think of ways you can work self-care into your daily routine. For example, maybe you can hone in on a balanced diet that provides you with more energy throughout the day. Perhaps you can try out a few different exercise routines until you find some activities that you enjoy doing. Developing a bedtime routine that helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer can also go a long way in restoring your energy.


    How Do You Achieve Your Own Goals?    


    When raising a child with special needs, you often put your dreams and goals on the backburner. While there are times and seasons when this is necessary, you will need to start establishing goals for yourself to build your self-confidence and add self-fulfillment to your life. For example, maybe you want to go back to school to earn a degree, rekindle an old hobby from your youth, or start a business.


    If you’re starting your own business, write a business plan that details your marketing and sales plan, funding needs, and business structure. Many new business owners choose to set themselves up as an LLC because this entity offers tax benefits and protects personal assets. Keep in mind that forming an LLC typically requires five distinct steps. 


    If switching careers is one of your goals, you’ll need to update your resume to reflect all your skills, experience, and accomplishments. Use a free tool like a resume generator to create a customized resume with your own copy, background, and photos. You may even want to start your own business. Being your own boss can be stressful, but may allow for flexibility. Plus, if you focus on something you love, then it will feel less like work. Look into the steps to start an LLC to see if it’s the right fit for you. If you have a great idea that you think others will also love, then start filing the paperwork to get the process moving. If you need assistance with the paperwork side of things, work with a formation service to help you along. For example, you could work with for the cheapest LLC formation services designed to help you get all the necessary documentation filed with the state.


    How Do You Know Your Fatigue Levels?    


    Before you develop a self-care plan, you need to figure out your fatigue levels. The best approach is to look for signs in your everyday life. For instance, how would you rate your parenting satisfaction? Many mothers and fathers who find themselves increasingly unhappy in their roles live with a high fatigue level.


    How much exercise are you getting each week? Regular exercise goes a long way in increasing your energy, but chronic fatigue makes it next to impossible to maintain a consistent fitness routine. And is your child getting quality sleep on most nights? Any parent will tell you that they don’t sleep when their kid doesn’t sleep; thus, fatigue sets in. 


    How Do You Prevent Negative Outcomes?


    When you start finding your self-care rhythm, be on the lookout for potentially harmful outcomes. Be mindful not to overcompensate for your spouse or overburden those in your support network. And while you need to foster your health and wellbeing, you don’t want to swing the pendulum too far and neglect your duties. There is no such thing as a perfectly balanced life, but you can find harmony between your responsibilities and needs.


    You don’t have to keep allowing your fatigue to control your life. Find ways to work self-care into your daily routine, and begin establishing your goals and pursuing dreams. As you assess your fatigue levels and develop a treatment plan, be careful to prevent any unwanted outcomes. Above all, remember that you’ll be a better parent when you’re your better self.


    Are you overwhelmed or find yourself lying awake at night with a head full of busy thoughts? Stride Forward Counseling can provide you with the tools and skills necessary to face life’s many challenges. Get in touch with us today by calling (443) 840-7862.