While caring for your autistic child does come with certain rewards and a sense of fulfillment, it can also be overwhelming at times and can lead to burnout especially if you feel that you are over your head with responsibilities.
Preventing burnout is important not only for yourself but also for your child as interacting with a burned out parent will likewise be very stressful for your child. If you want to be the best parent for your child, you need to take care of your needs as well.
Here are some tips to help prevent burnout -
1. Take a break from time to time
While taking care of your autistic child is your main priority, keep in mind that you also need to take some time for yourself to recharge and relax. Do not feel guilty about taking a break as doing so will also be beneficial for your child. Keep in mind that when you are tired and stressed, there is a higher tendency to be irritable and impatient and your child will definitely not benefit from that.
2. Acknowledge your feelings.
Taking care of an autistic child can sometimes take its toll and can trigger some difficult emotions such as depression, anger, resentment, fear and guilt. While it is easier to push these emotions aside, doing so will not be a good idea. You need to acknowledge your feelings and you need to allow yourself to feel what you feel.
Do not keep your emotions bottled up. Share your emotions with your family or trusted friends. Do not hesitate to speak with a professional if you feel you need it.
3. Accept help
When well-meaning family and friends offer to help, there is sometimes a tendency to refuse the offer because you do not want to inconvenience the person who offered to help. Keep in mind that they will not offer if they know that they won’t be able to handle your child. Graciously accept the offer and take this time to recharge.
It is very important that you get the support that you need before burnout occurs. There is strength in knowing that you are not alone and that there are people who are willing to help you and your child.