What is stress? The dictionary describes it as "mental, emotional or physical tension; strain, distress." . Stress is not necessarily bad. The level of stress differs from each of us. It is like the tension of a harp string. You have a child with autism, who could bring you stress. This is almost certain and unavoidable. There are times you feel you will never make it through the day without experiencing the stress factor. How can you manage stress with your autistic child?
I know from my own experience, an autistic child can be extremely difficult to handle, and understand, due to their many various behavior patterns of expressing themselves. This is stressful for you as parent(s), caregiver(s) and family members. But, you can learn to manage stress.
You as parent(s), caregiver(s), want what is best for your child with autism. Due to this fact, most children require much of our attention. Autistic children, require close attention, sometimes one on one care, and even 24 hour care. It is overloading at times. This too will cause stress.
Start to manage stress by not to over committing yourself. There are times when you have too much to do, and not enough time to do it with all of the other responsibilities, of raising your autistic child. There are times when you commit yourself to doing something that you really do not want to do, but you do it, just to make other people happy.
Another way you can manage your stress, is not to overextend yourself by trying to do too many things you want to do, because you are trying to take advantage of the time you have for yourself. Having an autistic child does require time, patience, and sacrifices.
I know when I overextend myself, and try to do too much, in order to fill in the gaps where I have free time, I get exhausted. Taking on this kind of behavior, you and your autistic child will not benefit from the joy of life. I have had numerous times in my life, when I was tired and I should have rested. I continued to push myself to go out, or to have company. I would end up exhausted, instead of being tired. Exhausted people usually become grouchy and impatient. This often caused strife in our family and led to more stress. This is not managing stress.
There are times when you have "just had it" with your child. You feel you want your own way, instead of trying to make changes, being flexible, and adaptable. You probably wanted everyone else to see your view, and do what you want them to do, your way. By doing this, it will only create more stress. Not good management of stress.
Remember, having an autistic child will, and can create stress. It is important to weigh your issues, determine how you can avoid the ones that you feel will create the stress, and then develop a way to redirect those issues to avoid stress. This will help to manage your stress.
If you continue to have stress when challenges come from raising your child with autism, you will have burnout. Burnout comes from physical and emotional exhaustion, resulting from long-term stress. You want to be strong and healthy for your child. When burnout comes, the stress depletes your body, and your immune system becomes weak and sickness and depression can set in. Burnout causes you to be out of control, and you will probably not be an attribute to your child who has the disorder of autism.
It is wise, when you feel your child is causing you stress, to be in control of the situation, by being aware of what is creating it. In addition, you as parent(s), caregiver(s), must take care of yourself. Managing your stress, especially when it is created because of your autistic child, is like managing your weight.You need to take of yourself, and be aware of the pitfalls that can bring on stress.
You can learn to manage your stress that is caused by your child who has autism, by:
* Taking a nice hot bath to relax, and totally let go.
* Give yourself permission to relax.
* Go for a walk in a park, or sit under a tree and read.
* Jog, bicycle ride, skate, paint, be creative.
* Go sit in a quiet place, your own sanctuary, and meditate.
* Go to libraries, or book stores, and lose yourself with all the information around you.
* Listen to music. The music you like, and know you will enjoy.
Remember, stress is all around you. Learn to manage it, understand it, and be aware of it. Once you are able to do this, there will be positive benefits to your child and you.
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