Prioritizing Mental Health As A Caregiver
Parents and caregivers: this month we want to direct our focus to you. We understand the challenges associated with caring for neurodivergent and disabled individuals. Furthermore, parent/caregiver mental health is a key component in the therapeutic process for your child! The more you care for yourself, the better able you are to carry over strategies and target skills for your child at home and in daily life.
Here’s some of our recommendations:
Seek Support: Connect with other parents who have neurodivergent children or join support groups specifically tailored to the needs of families in similar situations. Sharing experiences, challenges, and triumphs can provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.
Engage in Self-Care Practices: Incorporate self-care activities into your daily routine. This might include mindfulness exercises, meditation, yoga, spending time in nature, reading, pursuing hobbies, or engaging in any activity that brings joy and relaxation.
Set Boundaries: Caring for a neurodivergent and/or disabled human can be demanding, both emotionally and physically. Learn to set realistic boundaries to prevent burnout. Ask for help from friends, family members, or professional caregivers when needed, and prioritize your own needs without feeling guilty. We recommend the affirmations: “My needs are important. It’s ok to say no. It’s ok to ask for help.”
Access Mental Health Providers: Reach out to mental health professionals, such as therapists or counselors, who have experience working with parents of neurodivergent children. Talking to a professional can offer valuable insights, coping strategies, and emotional support.
Learn and Understand: Understanding your child's unique strengths and challenges can help you feel more equipped to support them effectively and reduce feelings of overwhelm related to care. We recommend seeking out reputable resources from neurodiversity-affirming researchers and providers. Social media has a variety of wonderful resources as an easily digestible place to start. We’d be happy to point you in the direction of some of our favorite accounts!
Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish; it's an essential aspect of being able to provide the best care and support for your child. Prioritizing your mental health will allow you to approach challenges with resilience and offer your child the love and understanding they need.