Caregivers Need Their ‘Me’ Time Too

iStock_000010562074XSmallSummer vacation.  No homework, less demanding schedules, time for vacations and outdoor activities.  Yes, as the children go back to school all of this is coming to an end.   I remember how I was always sad to see summer vacation end because it meant a return to homework, busy days and early mornings rushing to get ready for school.  This continues for another nine months until we can again take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the summer vacation again.

Most parents work full time or part time outside of the home, have a household to run and are full time caregivers, as well.  At best, it is a juggling act that we all face and handle successfully at most times.  I think parents of children with special needs experience stressors that can have an emotional and physical cost if allowed to continue unchecked.   The essential question is “how do you reduce the effects of this stress?”

I recently came across a caregiver’s workbook for groups of caregivers of Massage39adolescents and young adults with ASD.  In fact, the recommendations they share would be helpful to any caregiver.  Some of the recommendations include:

  • Time for yourself
  • Support networks
  • Time management
  • Relaxation techniques

I’d encourage you to review the material, take the time to complete a few exercises and put the recommendations into practice.  If you are saying to yourself “I know I’m stressed but I’m not nearing ‘burnout’,” then you might also want to take a caregiver stress test. Recognizing the signs of caregiver burnout out early will help you avoid far more serious problems down the road.  It is okay to admit that you are stressed.  Everyone is, but the key is to recognize the signs and ask for help.Each of us will identify our own personal way of dealing with stress.

body-weight-exercises-for-menRyan and I exercise before work and I exercise by myself after.  I began my afternoon routine around Christmas time and found that even though I might be exhausted from a day of work, I felt much better after I exercised.  What do you do to relieve your stress?  I’d encourage you to share your tips and experiences so that I might share with others.

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