Grandparents of Special Needs Children

How to Overcome Fatigue and Care for Yourself too

special needs child of grandparent

When you care for a child with special needs, you face daily challenges that require a significant amount of time, energy, and patience.


According to research, parents of a child with special needs report more significant depression and poorer mental health than other parents. What about the grandparents? Grandparents have a special role in their grandchild's life. Grandparents often help with numerous tasks and some grandparents care for their grandchildren frequently or full time. Routine grandparenting tasks are often complex projects you must plan and execute with careful management.


With frequent doctor visits and different healthcare needs, you have many worries about your grandchild's well-being. Physical tiredness combined with mental exhaustion can lead to fatigue. Healthwise Exercise invites you to explore these tips for determining your fatigue level and treating it through self-care.


Understanding Fatigue

Many grandparents tend to focus so much on their children's needs that they neglect their own. This problem occurs even more often when a child has special needs. However, if you fail to care for yourself, you can suffer burnout, leaving you with little or no energy left for yourself.


Fatigue is not simply feeling tired or lacking vitality. Caused by a combination of physical, social, lifestyle, and mental health factors, fatigue leaves you with no energy or motivation. You experience chronic tiredness or physical weakness that does not improve with sleep.


Assessing Your Fatigue Level

If you struggle to complete daily tasks regardless of sleep, you may be suffering from fatigue. You may have a range of emotional, physical, and psychological symptoms in addition to feeling tired:


• Headaches, dizziness, or blurry vision

• Loss of appetite

• Irritability

• Sore or weak muscles

• Short-term memory problems

• Trouble making decisions

• Inability to concentrate


Identifying Root Causes

When fatigue sets in, consider the most significant contributors to your exhaustion so you can create a self-care treatment plan. Assess various aspects of your life:


• Do you have a healthy social support network?

• Are you often anxious or depressed?

• Is your child having behavioral issues?

• Have your caregiving responsibilities left you with no time?

• Does your mental overload prevent you from sleeping?


Building a Healthy Solution

Map out your treatment plan for the best results. Focusing on your own care can have adverse outcomes if not well thought out. You may start to give too much responsibility to your support helpers or your partner, or you may try to solve significant issues like depression and anxiety yourself instead of seeking professional care. Creating an outline that balances your grandchild's needs with your own can lead to healthier, happier times.


Incorporate essential care into each day:

• Pray or meditate

• Exercise or move your body

• Go outside for a few minutes

• Eat nutritious snacks

• Call a friend or family member

• Listen to your favorite songs

• Keep your home decluttered to help reduce anxiety


Pursuing Personal Goals

You may have forgotten that it is not only OK but beneficial to think about yourself and your desires. Have you been thinking of learning a new hobby or re-starting an old one? If lack of energy and time have stopped you, you can get back into it with some planning. Even small chunks of time here and there spent doing things you enjoy will refresh your mood and spirit.


Perhaps you have a great business idea. Consider starting your company from home by forming a limited liability company. An LLC offers increased liability protection and tax advantages. You can benefit from the flexibility and minimal paperwork associated with this business structure. Check the laws in your state to know the requirements before you begin. You can also work with a formation service to help you tackle this problem.


When you take time to address the core causes of your fatigue and create a plan that incorporates healthy daily habits, you and your family benefit.


Healthwise Exercise offers a range of award-winning fitness and wellness DVDs that can help you look and feel better. Explore our website to learn more about what we offer.


The author of today's guest post is Gwen Payne.