Treating Fatigue for Parents of Special Needs Kids

Written By: Brad Krause

Parenting a special needs child can be as stressful as it is rewarding. If you’re the parent of
a special needs child, it’s important to take care of yourself so you don’t get burnt out. Many
parents have trouble spotting their own signs of fatigue because they’re so busy making
their child a priority. Today, The Family Life Project takes a closer look at some of the best
ways to diagnose and treat parental fatigue.

How to Assess Your Fatigue

Step one in getting yourself help and preventing burnout as the parent of a special needs
child is considering the following areas:

  • Satisfaction. How would you rate your parenting satisfaction?
  • Efficiency. How time-consuming is your caregiving routine?
  • Individual Free time. Are you making time for yourself, your interests, your job, and
    your partner?
  • Exercise. What’s your level of physical activity?
  • Mental health. Are you experiencing depression and anxiety symptoms?

If you’re feeling worn out and have overlooked your own needs, you’re far from alone. The
good news is that forming some self-care habits, reaching out for help, and knowing how to
handle negative outcomes can help you help yourself and your child.

Handling Negative Outcomes

If you’re like most parents of special needs children, you may be worried about
overburdening your natural support system or even professionals. While this is a risk, one
way to mitigate it is to research respite services in your area. You might be surprised at
how many agencies can offer a variety of services from helping with daily chores to giving
you time off to recharge.

Developing Good Self-Care Habits

It’s important to maintain your physical health as you look after your child. Pay close
attention to your diet to improve your nutrition. Instead of reaching for cereal in the
morning or chips at night, why not opt for fruit, nuts, and a smoothie? Simple diet changes
can help reduce hunger and give you the energy you need to pursue goals.

Getting Professional Help

You may need help from a mental health professional. Taking their advice on things like
antidepressants or other appropriate treatments is a good way to help yourself. A mental
health professional can help you to make the best decisions for you and monitor your


Gardening is one of the best ways to de-stress and relax. Whether you’re tending to your
own plants or working in a community garden, gardening provides a sense of calm and
centeredness that is hard to find elsewhere. The act of digging in the dirt and getting your
hands dirty helps to ground you and clear your mind. Plus, the focus and attentiveness
required for light gardening tasks can help to distract you from any worries or concerns
that might be plaguing your thoughts. If you don’t have a green thumb, consult
HomeGardenHero for expert gardening advice.

Give Yourself Permission to Follow Your Dreams

It may seem counterintuitive that you could reduce fatigue by taking on more projects, but
remember that we also experience stress and fatigue when we hold back from pursuing our
goals. So if you’ve always wanted to change professions, now could be the time. If it’s been
a while since you dusted off your resume, design a new resume with a resume builder.
Choose a predesigned template and customize it to your needs.

Believe in yourself and aim high! By working to achieve your goals, you’ll end up feeling
more fulfilled, which will give you extra energy to face the rest of your responsibilities.

Striking a Balance

Without a doubt, it takes effort to treat your fatigue. Do your best to strike a better balance
by taking advantage of good self-care habits and help from a professional. And don’t be
afraid to push yourself to meet your career goals! You’re already well on your way to a
better life for yourself and your child.

The Family Life Project provides a plethora of resources and tools designed to help enhance
the life of your entire family, from A to Z. Learn more by looking around our site.

Image via Pexels

This article was reprinted with permission. Visit the author’s website for more articles and free email subscription

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