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How Do You Manage the Physical Stress of Parenting Kids with Special Needs?

May 3, 2012

You know what they say on airplanes: put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help your child.

I think that past few weeks have shown my husband and I that our physical bodies are crying,”Uncle!” His heart attack was the sort triggered by stress. And in my eye the optic nerve, the current leading theory goes, is being attacked by my own antibodies, significantly impairing the vision in my right eye. This usually only happens with immune system suppression –like that caused by prolonged stress.

So you might say in our family system the kids always get the first oxygen masks and my husband and I haven’t been getting around to ours. It’s taking a toll on my husband and me physically.

The solution seems simple: go out for a 45-60 minute brisk walk every day. The weather is beautiful now, The route through nature preserves in our new neighborhood is alluring. But where am I going to find that time in my day?

What do you to help yourself manage the physical stress of raising challenging children? How do you fit it in?

I need some inspiration and some ideas.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2012 1:47 pm

    Oh, I hear you! I, too, have had strange autoimmune things over the past few years and it only occurred to me this past year that hmmmm, I thought I was handling the stress well, but apparently my body had other ideas. Ideas: I set my alarm earlier, and try to have morning quiet time with God. Alone. Every day. Not easy, but helping me tons. I’m seeing a naturopath for support in healing – at a friend’s urging, who insists I have to look out for myself if I’m going to be able to care for everyone else (it’s been so very helpful). Perhaps there are some supplements that can help support your immune system and help with stress as well. Trying to read something for at least 15 minutes a day that is enriching to my own self- not about psychology or development or parenting, LOL, and sometimes something of a stretch, like a classic I haven’t read yet. If I can’t find time to walk alone or with husband, trying to get out more for walks with the kids, who welcome the change from school and routine.

    Last thing: my habit through the years has been to “reward” myself for dealing with stress with sugary treats. I’ve finally realized that only increases the adrenal strain, which feeds into autoimmune, hormonal and stress issues. I’m reallllly careful about sugar these days and rewards look a bit more like a few big fresh strawberries or another piece of fruit, or a cup of peppermint tea, than a piece of chocolate.

    Praying for your family!

    • May 7, 2012 6:30 pm

      Aimee, Thanks for the encouragement! I agree: I think this is going to take some renovation in every area of my life and nutrition –which I’ve tried to get by without until now 🙂 –is going to be important.

  2. lori permalink
    May 7, 2012 5:35 am

    Hi – I just came across your blog by trying to google “APTAT”. I am a mom of a big family with lots of additional special needs children, living in China.
    Getting alone with the FATHER daily and walks outside work for me.
    I look forward to checking out your blog more. blessings, lb

    • May 7, 2012 6:24 pm

      Hi Lori! Thanks for introducing yourself! I love that we’re called to do this all over the world and are equipped for every good work by the one who is faithful to complete it:).

  3. May 8, 2012 10:19 am

    Redefining ‘break’ has helped a lot. Now I take the trash out and walk around the block instead of straight back into the chaos – its three minutes but often it’s enough to get me through the next few hours in a better state of mind. Meeting friends either late at night or early in the morning works better than daylight hours and releasing so many of the ‘should do’s’ of life helps the most. In our home many of the things others consider ‘essential’ get left out of the schedule and I claim that space for reading, resting and just plain not working.

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