Support for Stressed-out Parents: Let’s Take Care of Ourselves so We can Take Care of Our Kids

Support for Stressed-out Parents: Let’s Take Care of Ourselves so We can Take Care of Our Kids

by Kari Tanta, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Rehab Manager, Children’s Therapy

As the pandemic drags on, school remains online, we continue working at home, and the holiday approaches, parents are feeling increasing fatigue. This can be further intensified if you are caring for a child with special needs and/or an older parent or relative. We are often told to take care of ourselves first, but what does that look like? Where can you turn? Is it really possible to decrease stress these days? Here are some tips and resources to help you do just that and again experience more joy in caregiving!

Signs of Caregiver Stress: Caregivers often ignore signs of stress, or discount their needs, as they put others first. It is important to take a moment to look for signs of stress in ourselves:

  • Constant worry
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Easy irritation and anger
  • Sadness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Headaches or other pain
  • Reliance on drugs, medication, or alcohol

Self-Care Tips for Caregivers: If you have identified signs of stress in yourself, try some of these tips:

  • Connect with others
  • Accept offers of help
  • Seek support
  • Move every day
  • Drink enough water
  • Rest and relaxation
  • Prioritize your mental health
  • Positive thinking
  • Set realistic standards
  • Limit stress by admitting your own limits
  • Plan, organize and schedule to focus on what is most important
  • Take care of your own physical needs
  • Relax
  • Laugh and have fun!

Respite Care Options: Sometimes we need help and a break from caregiving tasks. Try these options:

  • In-home respite
    • Trusted friend or relative
    • Nanny or babysitting service
  • Day care centers—these are available for children and elders

Support and Counseling Options: If you need more support, here are some other options:

About The Author

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