Self-Care for Autism Parents: 5 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress
Any parent of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) spends large amounts of time and energy on their child’s behalf. Dealing with sudden meltdowns, potty training issues, countless therapy sessions, and more can be incredibly stressful; it can drain the parent both physically and emotionally.
While it is important to help one’s child overcome challenges, it is equally important for parents to get the support they need. Taking care of oneself is not an act of selfishness — it is a necessity. After all, being physically and emotionally strong allows the parent to be at their best for their child in need.
Being a parent to an autistic child means spending a lot of time and energy on behalf of the child and dealing with situations such as anger, sudden meltdowns, changes in mood, and a number of therapy sessions. All of this can become stressful and drain the individual both physically and mentally. Just as your child needs support to overcome a number of challenges, similarly, as a parent, you also have to get the support you require, so it is not selfish to take care of yourself. Only if you take care of yourself will you be able to take better care of your child and their needs. With that in mind, below are a few suggestions for self-care:
- Exercise and maintain physical activity: Walking or carrying out certain exercises is known to trigger endorphins, which is a brain chemical that helps reduce pain. Endorphins are also known to act as sedatives. Try to plan out your day so you can include both exercise as well as nutritious, healthy meals.
- Do not forget about yourself in all the hustle: Many a times, as parents, people tend to neglect themselves as well as their needs in all the hustle and bustle of running after kids. But in the case of an autistic child, the risk of neglecting oneself is always higher. Try to practice self-care and see the transformation it brings. Try to practice some of the strategies of emotional care, physical care, and spiritual care.
- Be sure to take rest and shower: A nap, no matter how short, is known to work wonders for the body. It can be for a short duration or a longer one, just so long as you get rest. Sleep is very important for the overall health of the body, as it provides ample time for the brain to recharge and take on another day. Also, taking a nice, hot shower can help relax the muscles and limbs, which have been overworking day and night.
- Try to listen to music or read a book: Listening to soft, soothing music is another way one can look to relax and calm their mind, which can reduce stress. Music is known to have the ability to quickly shift the mood from negative to positive. Another good way to relax the mind is to pick up a book that you love to read. These are just a few of the healthy ways to escape from the daily stressors of life.
- Go for a massage: Massage is another method known to reduce stress and tension. A massage can bring the body to a state of relaxation and also help people to unwind from a tiring day. You can opt for a professional one or just ask a family member or close friend to provide a quick rub to your muscles. It also helps to relieve migraines and any other kind of pain associated with stress.