Caring for a child with a chronic disease like Angelman syndrome can be stressful, and stress can contribute to anxiety and depression, among other ills. It’s important for caregivers to practice self-care to ensure that their own health and mental well-being are not affected.
Here are some tips that can help reduce stress and improve your mental and physical health as an Angelman caregiver:
Get enough sleep
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you are exhausted. Try to make sure that you get enough sleep. If your child has sleep disturbances, try to set up a schedule with your partner or other family members — stagger sleep schedules, or alternate nights so that both of you can get the rest you need.
Reduce caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine intake
Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can all increase stress and affect sleep. To the extent reasonably possible, reduce their consumption to improve sleep and lower stress and anxiety.
Eat healthy foods
It’s hard to take care of yourself when you are caring for someone else. And shortcuts are tempting — like eating unhealthy snacks so that you have more time to focus on what your child needs. An important part of self-care is making sure that you are eating healthy foods regularly. Speak with a registered dietitian, and make sure that you are getting the nutrition and vitamins you need every day.
Getting regular exercise is an important part of self-care. Even 15 or 30 minutes each day can make a difference to a person’s mental health and physical well-being.
Mindfulness and meditation
Connect with friends and family
When caring for a child with a chronic disease, it’s easy to feel disconnected and cut off from friends and family. It’s important to reach out to friends and family and maintain those support networks. Try to make time with friends and family every week, even if it’s five minutes for coffee or a walk.
Make your health a priority
Carve out a small space of time for yourself and your own care. This might mean taking time to go for a walk in the sunshine, or a few minutes to read for pleasure, or time to take a class or pick up a new hobby. Ask for help when you need it, so you can take time for yourself, too.
Find a support group
Having a support group that understands what you’re going through can help. If you don’t know of a support group in your area, ask your child’s physician if they know of one. There are also online resources for parents of children with Angelman syndrome, such as the Angelman Syndrome Foundation.
Last updated: Sept. 30, 2019
Angelman Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.