Parenting is a decade-long marathon.
When your child is newly diagnosed, the initial shock and grief take over and you try to do everything to make sure they get the support they need.
After a while, you need to look into how to take care of yourself.
With the awareness of the importance of mental health, more and more organizations provide help to caregivers. Try to find out what is available in your neighborhood.
Respite come in different forms. Summer camps and different after-school classes could allow you to relax on a regular basis. Respite workers can also help taking your child to different outings and allow your child to interact with other people in a different situation.
Get a babysitter so you can enjoy a cup of coffee alone, or with your friends.
There are some retreats that allow you to walk away from your life for a little while and recharge.
If you still feel drained and exhausted, consider picking up a book, a new hobby, or a new skill. Sometimes respite means to learn and experience something new, something to make us break out of our usual routines.
The bottom line is, as we are our children’s first responders, we need to maintain our sanity and health to better support them.
Respite is not selfish. It is selfcare.