When a child gets diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum, the most stressed people are the child's parents. Their first thought is "now what?". It seems like everything is finished! It is usual for parents to feel stressed, depressed, unable to accept their child's diagnosis and keep thinking "why me?".
The most important thing to feel better is ACCEPTANCE! Honestly, it's easier said than done, but once you accept the reality, you find strength within yourself to deal with it.
A special parent needs to equally take care of himself, not only physical fitness but also mental health. It is very important to keep yourself motivated to be able to deal with challenges that we face with our special kids.
Focus on your physical fitness and take out time for exercise. Regular exercising will help to stay active and keep the muscles relaxed. Regular yoga practice, apart from fitness, also helps the mind to calm down and release stress.
Special parents are always overburdened , not only physically & financially, but also mentally & emotionally. Meditation plays a very important role here. Regular meditation not only helps to control worries & emotions but also helps in calming down over thinking minds. Meditation along with deep breathing exercises play a vital role in improving mental health.
It is commonly observed that when a person is stressed, either he tends to overeat or not eat sufficiently. It is very important to maintain healthy eating habits. Not only do we pass on these good habits to our children but the same helps in keeping us fit and active.
The life of special parents moves around their child, doctors, therapists, medicines, etc leaving very little time to relax. So, slow down & take breaks from monotonous schedules, go out for family vacations and make friends. Pursuing hobbies such as singing, dancing, art & craft and other creative activities also work as stress busters.These breaks help in rejuvenation of our burderned & stressed minds and help us to work with our children with more positivity and motivation.
Most importantly, talk about your problems. This is the most difficult thing to do for any special parent owing to social stigma attached with autism. but once we start talking about our problems, not only we get relieved as it helps to vent out stress but also creates awareness.
At the end, I just want to say, never give up! Love your child unconditionally and accept that autism is a part of him!! May Almighty bless all special parents with more & more power!
Shivani is a practicing Chartered Accountant and an Autism Activist. She is passionately working towards creating sensitivity in society for people on the autism spectrum. She is a core member of "Autism Parents Forum" which is a group of motivated individuals who have taken the responsibility of creating autism awareness in our society.