Stress Relief for Special Needs Moms

Stress Relief for Special Needs Moms - jenniferajanes.com

Stress Relief for Special Needs Moms

This week was very stressful. There’s a lot going on here: my husband’s new job (and his office is now at home), an out-of-town specialist appointment for Princess Roo, and state-mandated standardized testing for both girls. That’s added to the usual crazy schedule I have, and the fact that Princess Roo did not sleep well this week. (And since she didn’t sleep well, I didn’t either!) By mid-week, I was exhausted and on the verge of tears all day.

Here’s what I learned and what helped:

  • Prayer. I found myself praying throughout the day. I prayed for help, for sleep for my daughter (and myself!), for grace and strength to get through the day, and for God to help me through whatever situation I found myself in at the moment.
  • Sleep. I can handle a sleep shortage for a night or two, but when this one kept going on and on because my hubby and daughter weren’t sleeping well (he was up and down all night several nights and she had trouble falling asleep most of the week), then I passed my limit of being able to function well. I was very tired, weepy, and overwhelmed with the mere idea of trying to accomplish basic tasks. The kids were tired too, so we had a day or two where we took some very short power naps, and at night I tried to shut down my activities as soon as Roo went to sleep so I could get as much sleep as possible.
  • Exercise. Because I was so tired, there were a few days that I didn’t exercise, and I normally do something every day (usually Holy Yoga or a 30-minute walk on the treadmill). I didn’t realize how much that helps my mental and physical energy levels. Now I realize that I need to make the time even when I don’t feel like it because I handled the stress a lot better on the days that I exercised.
  • Nutrition. I admit it. I turned to comfort (read “junk”) foods last week because I was tired and stressed out. On the days I did that, I actually felt worse. When I forced myself to stick to healthier foods, I felt better and handled the week’s challenges with more grace.
  • Friends. Having friends to talk to and pray for me, sending me texts to see how I’m doing and making sure I was taking care of myself, was invaluable. Knowing they were there to support and encourage me, and knowing they cared, was such a blessing.
  • Family. I am so thankful for family that supports, encourages, and lends a helping hand on weeks when we’re very busy and I’m overwhelmed.
  • Stop.  Because of some looming writing deadlines, I finally had to cry “Uncle!” and start taking things off my plate. I volunteer on the children’s ministry at church on Wednesday nights, but I had to beg off this week so I could polish an article for a print magazine. I rearranged Thursday’s schedule to wrap up critical tasks for the week, and we took a homeschool spring break day on Friday. (We had only taken one spring break day up to this point, so it’s not going to drastically alter our plan for finishing the year.) On Friday morning, we all slept late and woke up refreshed and feeling much better. (Sometimes we just need a day off, and there’s nothing wrong with taking one every once in a while! It’s a good thing we enjoyed the rest because we have another out-of-town appointment for Roo on Monday.)

The catch is to remember all of these and to use them even when I’m not stressed so that I’ll be in good mental and physical shape to handle the next stressful week that comes my way.

What’s your best stress relief tip?

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13 Responses to Stress Relief for Special Needs Moms

  1. Nicole says:

    Jennifer,
    What a wonderful post, I will be pinning to my special needs board for sure!!

    I completely agree with all of your ideas, prayer is especially helpful for me! People will ask me how I manage to put a smile on my face despite everything that is going on, without God I cannot imagine how I would do that most days… One thing I do as a stress reliever is to make sure me and hubby take a date night once a week that time out is often the only time I get a break from life.

    Praying that things calm down on your end, and that you are finally able to get some good sleep lack of sleep can do bad things to us mama’s :-) !

    • Thank you so much, Nicole – for the kind words and for sharing it with others!

      A weekly date night sounds blissful. My husband and I try to get one in once a month, but we could certainly use one more often to reconnect and recharge. We need to try to find a way to work another one (or more) into our schedule.

      Thanks for the prayers. Yes, lack of sleep is NOT a good thing!

  2. Julie says:

    Good lessons for us all :) I’ll be praying your next weeks to be full of restful nights, and smooth sailing!

  3. Sensory Mom says:

    Love your post and all the suggestions! Visiting from the different dream link up! I definitely am a take a nap whenever I can get one in due to lack of sleep and exercise 3-4 times a week is definitely what helps hold me together! I have also learned that I need a lot of time to myself (on the weekends especially!) sometimes just to recover from parenting.

  4. Oh, Jennifer, I hope next week is better for all of you. Thank your for the excellent tips and for sharing this post at DifferentDream.com’s Tuesday link up.

  5. Karen W says:

    I need to add this to my list of things to remember when I get stressed out as well. Sometimes I try to just work through the stress and then everything turns into a disaster.

  6. Anna Rounseville says:

    Time to recharge is crucial for me, in pockets of time (Usually before work on weekends, right now). Also knowing I don’t have to do it all. My husband will willingly tackle laundry and dishes, at a time that works for him. Win-win. Time with my best friend is important too. Also the very rare splurge of going for a pedicure is just so lovely. There is also a chiropractor that a friend recommended to me that I go to and take one of my children to. Sometimes there’s stress and things that wont crack without some special help. It’s ok to get help. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. A therapist is good also, to dump info and problems out to in a way that’s safe, confidential that I just couldn’t lay all out to my friends because they would have worried too much. It’ll look different for everybody. <3

  7. These are wise words for all of us, no? My secret weapon is a Sunday nap, and when I don’t get one I’m not happy! :-)

    I don’t have a special needs child, but life in general can wear us down no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. Nevertheless, I’m going to share this with a mom at my church who has a special-needs son. I don’t know how she does it, save for the grace of God.

    Also retweeting. :-)

    • Thank you, Suzy! Oh yes, the Sunday afternoon nap means a lot here too. I *really* miss it when I can’t take one! That’s all I asked for on Mother’s Day this year – SLEEP – and my kids thought I was crazy!

      Thank you for sharing it with others, Suzy. I’m glad it encouraged you too!

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