To be clear, I am completely unsure of how to avoid burnout. Despite minimising and practicing intentional living for more than five years, I am very much a work in progress when it comes to burnout. I am a reformed perfectionist. I used to pride myself on my busyness. It hurts to think back on how difficult and anxiety inducing that time of my life was.
Having children is obviously a huge change and most will attest to realising they never knew what busy was. But having autistic kids is further challenging in the sense they don’t gain independence as soon or at all compared with their peers. Thus parents have greater responsibilities for a longer time frame. This means we are busier and because challenging behaviour is constant, we are stressed.
I am pro acceptance, anti compliance based therapy. I’m a breastfeeding, baby wearing, cosleeping mama who chooses to be peaceful and gentle in all of my child raising and finds it especially important in the case of my boys. I don’t see value in trying to get them to conform to society’s ideals. I just want them to be happy and healthy.
But achieving that isn’t easy. Even if i place little demand on them they still get distressed. Being autistic for them is difficult sometimes, mostly due to speech issues and sensory processing challenges. So enter super hero mum and dad who try to help things be a little easier to manage. Cue both parents at home to manage two little people with lots of extra needs. Result? Burnout.
Unfortunately burnout is often the case for lots of families of autistic kids.
So what can you do?
1. Ask for help
2. Find time for your own pleasurable activities – even 5 mins a day will help
3. Prioritise sleep
4. See your doctor
These tips are basic but I know I’m not even doing these basic steps! What about you?