In this episode, we discuss burnout in special needs parents and how to combat burnout. Guest Torie Henderson defines supermoms as moms who try really hard to do everything right, so they get exhausted and they put the children’s needs before their own. Torie discusses 4 stages of burnout. The first stage is when you are all in, putting the supermom cape on and throwing yourself into trying to fix the problem. But we can’t stay in that stage, as we need to take time to ourselves, or we will continue to burn out. The second stage is self-care wear, where your children are thriving but you are dragging, your health and exercise has dwindled, and you feel guilty if you take a break. Your to-do list is dragging you throughout your day. We start sneaking in indulgences, like watching more TV, drinking more alcohol, or eating more food. Stage 3 is being chronically cranky. You always wake up tired and are always grumpy. You are snappy and impatient and can’t get into a good mood. You always feel burdened and look for someone to blame (often ourselves or our spouse). Everything feels overwhelming. Happy people annoy you. Stage 4 is full burnout, where you are going through the motions but don’t feel alive. You don’t even know what you like or what you miss anymore. You don’t feel like yourself anymore. This is when the hospital fantasies kick in. We get to stage 4 by not taking care of ourselves and not asking ourselves what we need.
To combat burnout, Torie recommends writing yourself a letter from your future child thanking you for all the wonderful things you have done for the child and then reading it whenever you need to see it. It is important to be getting as much as you are giving, in order not to get burnt out. We need to do self-care things that let us surrender, like yoga, massage, or chiropractic. Torie also recommends writing in a journal, which can help you stay in touch with yourself and see what is going on in your head/doing brain dump. This can help you figure out what you are feeling and what you want at that moment. You can fantasize about all the things you want your life to be in the future. It helps you figure out what could be next for you and to remember that you have an identity that is separate from your kids. It helps you find out what can fill your cup back up. When you are moving toward or are already in burnout, life coaching can be helpful. Self-care is very important, but moments or rituals of pleasure are key. If you can take some time away from the house, even for a short period of time, it can help as well, because it is hard for us to focus on ourselves when others are around. Getting outside can help a lot. Work on prioritizing what is important to you. If people don’t have the time or money for self-care, it is time to remember that “you have to, you need to, and you should” take care of yourself in any way you can. We need to remember that we have choices and that everything we do is a choice, even if it is something that doesn’t feel good or has negative consequences. This gives us empowerment.
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Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (www.freesound.org)
Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple
Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.
Copyright 2020 Jessica and Lewis Temple