There is no denying that being the father of a child with special needs is a challenge, both emotionally and physically. Parenting a child with any type of special needs affects everyone in the family differently.
Fathers tend to turn to their work as a common coping strategy.
You are often the breadwinner of the household, which can make it difficult to attend every medical and therapy appointment, no matter how much you want to be there. In a 2012 study surveying fathers of children with disabilities, findings indicated that these fathers experienced greater stress in daily parenting hassles, family life events and changes, parenting stress and health stress. This may come as no surprise! But what happens to you when this stress starts to build up?
Stress is one way your body is trying to tell you to pump the brakes and manage the situation before you have any other health consequences. Stress can take its toll in many ways. You can either head down the path of mental health stress, such as anxiety and depression, or it can manifest as a physical stress. Have you ever found yourself with aching and tired joints and getting those ‘old man’ creaks that you swear weren’t there this time last year?
EASY WAYS TO DRIVE OUT DAD-STRESS…
A few simple lifestyle changes can not only make a large impact to your health and wellbeing, but can also keep your mental alertness in check – improving productivity at work and at home. Some suggestions that can easily fit into your daily lifestyle include:
Okay, your first reaction to that suggestion is probably, “What time!?” but there is good news. Research shows that just five minutes of quiet time a day can have a positive impact on stress and cognitive function. Making a real effort to find five minutes of quiet space a day to close your eyes or be in a dark/dimmed room and do a few deep breaths can do wonders. A 10-minute daily walk can also be very beneficial.
Ensure that you have a glass of water at arm’s reach. Studies have shown that even if you are just one per cent dehydrated, you can have a decrease in cognitive function by up to five per cent.
Omega-3 plays a crucial part in both mental and physical stress. You could say it is like killing two birds with one fish! Did you know that only 20 per cent of Australian men meet the recommended Omega-3 intake to maintain health and prevent deficiency? Without adequate intake of these fatty acids, the highly active and delicate cells found within the brain and nervous system cannot function properly.
You could achieve the brain-powering effects of omega-3 by sitting down to a delicious plate of sardines every single day, or just pop a fish oil capsule to assist in reducing the risk of declining cognitive function.
KEEP BEING AWESOME
When you are so busy and focussed on looking after your family, it is easy to forget about your own health. Taking care of yourself, so you can be there for your family, just makes sense. Make your parenting life the best it can be, by ensuring you are fit and well to make the most of it!
For more information on the benefit’s of Omega-3 and other dietary supplements visit www.researchnutrition.com.au