If you’re a regular visitor to the ScratchMeNot blog, you know that we spend a lot of time looking at ways to help combat allergies, eczema, and other sensitivity issues in our children. One thing we don’t get to talk about very much, however, is the caretakers! Today, we’re celebrating the parents, grandparents, and others who make a positive impact in the lives with allergic children by bringing an issue to light that we feel is extremely important – stress and depression in caretakers. Research has found that parents of kids with eczema can rival that of parents who have terminally ill or handicapped children (*), so this is something we really need to be looking at and finding positive ways to support.
Every parent deals with stress. raising great children isn’t an easy job – so stress is part of the process. The issue arises when stress gets out of hand, and we see this a lot when parents have kids with special or unique needs. Worrying about allergic reactions, diet, skin products, weather, and so on all the time can wear down a parent’s nerves in no time. The tricky part is that if a parent is stress and burned out, they will be less likely to be present with the process of treating their children’s special needs. For example, a stressed out parent may not be able to spend as much energy noting foods, monitoring reactions, and networking with other parents online for ideas. When you’re tired, you’re tired!
The good news is that when stress creeps up, there are things you can do to help lessen it…
- Get a great babysitter and take some time for yourself. Get a massage, go for a drive, eat a great meal, or go for a swim. Do this alone or with a partner – anything that sounds relaxing is relaxing!
- Make sure that you are eating as well as your kids are. Taking time to ensure you get all the nutrition and water you need is a great way to help your body combat stress.
- There are many all natural remedies that can help nip stress in the bud before it gets the best of you. Herbal teas, aromatherapy, bath soaks, body work, meditation, and breathing exercises are all simple ways that can create surprisingly drastic changes in stress level. Many people find that a 5 minute ‘breathing and centering’ session can change the whole rest of the day.
- Do not be afraid to talk to your doctor about stress, anxiety, depression, or worries. There are some great methods that don’t rely on medication, and some great medications we well if you need them. Asking for help always leads to answers and solutions!
Everything mentioned above applies equally to depression. It can be easy to feel trapped, hopeless, overwhelmed, or just too tired when life puts a little more on your plate than you can handle. Depression can stem from wishing things were different or from remembering how things used to be – but it has not good benefits in the here and now. The good news is that treating stress can also help give you more insight into any depression you may be experiencing, and your doctor is the #1 resource you need to be using if you feel these things come up.
The fact of the matter is that you work hard to be a great parent and you go above and beyond to provide a safe, comfortable, and healthy life your your child. You also deserve good things for yourself. If you aren’t in tip-top shape within and without, you won’t be able to give 100% to your kids. So, make a resolution this year to love and cherish YOU and all the amazing things you do… and to ask for help when you need it!
Here’s to all of the amazing parents and caretakers out there!