3 Stress Relief Tips for Parents of Kids With Disabilities
What if stress could be your friend?
Stress management is an important skill for any parent, but it is especially important for parents of children with disabilities. As a parent of a child with a disability, you have typical parental stress as well as unique challenges.
Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.
Stress is a normal reaction the body has when changes occur, resulting in physical, emotional and intellectual responses.
Stress responses help your body adjust to new situations. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert, motivated and ready to avoid danger.
What are some strategies for stress relief?
You can’t avoid stress, but you can stop it from becoming overwhelming by practicing some daily strategies:
- Exercise: Use movement to release some tension and to move from thinking to feeling. Even a short walk can boost your mood.
- Look for three positive things that happen each day: At the end of each day, take a moment to think about what you’ve accomplished — not what you didn’t get done.
- Consider talking: Talk to a life coach, therapist or a member of the clergy about your worries.
Another way to work with stress is to frame it differently.
You will have more agency and control over stress when you understand that your body is protecting you by producing anxiety. Dr. Kelly McGonigal believes that “if you change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress”. In her Ted Talk she discusses how stress resilience comes from human connection and how you can use caring to create resilience.
Kelly McGonigal, PhD translates academic research into practical strategies for health, happiness and personal success.
I invite you to listen to her 14-minute Ted Talk:
Stress can be manageable. It is one of the toughest challenges everyone faces. It is not a quick fix. The solution comes from awareness and developing habits that fit into your life.
Getty image by Kaan Sezer