Raising a special-needs child is a truly satisfying and enriching experience that offers emotional knowledge and satisfaction unlike any other. Parents and caregivers work tirelessly to provide their children with a quality of life that is rich in opportunity, dignity, and inclusion, drawing on extraordinary courage, commitment, endurance, kindness, and love.
Supporting a highly dependent infant, on the other hand, brings with it many special difficulties and pressures, which also take their toll physically and mentally, leading to chronic depression and burnout.
Chronic stress has a variety of impacts on the body, including:
- Immunity is weakened, making you more susceptible to autoimmunity.
- Weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance are all linked to metabolic disorders.
- Sleep problems that affect the onset and duration of sleep.
- Poor digestion and digestive issues (such as IBS-like symptoms like diarrhoea and/or constipation, breeze, and pain).
- Thyroid feature that isn’t what it should be.
- The onset of long-term anxiety and/or depression.
- Irritability and/or a lack of ability to appreciate the present moment.
A child’s condition isn’t going away on its own, so if parents can’t improve their situation, it’s critical to find ways to relieve depression, develop internal resources, and survive while also caring for their children.
The reality is that no one approach will successfully maintain and cultivate a sense of wellness since well being is made up of various components. It’s crucial to take a balanced approach that incorporates a variety of techniques. Here are a few suggestions:
- Prioritizing and devoting at least one hour every week to yourself.
- Incorporating a brief mindfulness meditation into your everyday schedule.
- Visualize who you can count on when you need help by mapping out your network of support.
- Observing how the subconscious speaks to you through an evening (or even weekly) exercise of self-reflective journaling.
Nutrition is an essential part of self-care and it helps to build the physical basis of fitness and still feeding a better mental condition.
Too many people I talk to have food cravings and emotional eating behaviours – how do stress and biochemistry worsen these habits?
Depletion of the chemical serotonin in the brain, which is essential for mood control and safe sleep initiation (via conversion to melatonin within the body) and is also the target chemical of antidepressant medications, can also cause sugar cravings and binge feeding.
Refined sugars and basic carbohydrates in our diets mess with our blood sugar levels, causing a rollercoaster reaction that can intensify sugar cravings and binge eating whilst still feeding the cortisol reflex.
Serotonin levels in the brain can also be depleted by a lack of nutritional calcium, as well as vitamin and mineral deficits such as folate, vitamins B3 and B6, and magnesium. If the body is inflamed, as frequently occurs as a result of persistent stress and bad eating patterns, chemicals released by the inflammatory response can deplete serotonin levels in the brain, further depressing mood, promoting anxiety, and reducing the ability to emotionally self-regulate.
PROTEIN SOURCES OF HIGH QUALITY INCLUDE:
- Pasture-raised grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, and eggs sourced ethically.
- Almonds and regular, simple yoghurt
- Tempeh (fermented soybeans)
- Fatty fish, such as mackerel and sardines wild salmon and anchovies
FATS THAT ARE GOOD FOR YOU INCLUDE:
- Acai berry
- Nuts and seeds, raw
- Coconut oil that hasn’t been filtered and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
THE FOLLOWING ARE GREAT SOURCES OF SLOWLY DIGESTED COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES:
- Potatoes, sweet
- Quinoa • Brown basmati rice
- Buckwheat is a type of grain.
- Amaranth (a kind of grain)
- Millet is a cereal grain.
How do you use the following ingredients in your meals and snacks in practice?
When you’re depressed and exhausted, it’s all too easy to go for convenience snacks like takeout or pre-packaged meals to avoid expanding mental and physical energy on cooking and cleaning. However, doing it on a daily basis not only deprives you of the foods your body and brain need to function properly, but it also exposes you to dietary additives, secret carbohydrates, and preservatives, both of which may cause their own collection of complications, jeopardising your long-term health and wellness. The following suggestions will help you get through those situations while still protecting your body.
Set aside 15 minutes twice a week, for example on Sunday or Wednesday, to make batches of a whole grain like brown rice, buckwheat, or quinoa to hold in the fridge and add to your meals as needed (whole grains in their natural state – not as cereal or bread – have their nutrients intact and aren’t devoid of fibre). Combine it with mixed vegetables, smoked salmon, canned tuna, fish, or soft-boiled eggs in a salad for a quick and simple dinner.
If time allows, you may also make a dry salad mix on Sunday and ‘dress’ it with olive oil and apple cider vinegar as required during the week. If that’s too much for you, look for organic, ready-to-eat dark leafy salad mixes at your nearest store and use them instead.
Soft boil a batch of eggs twice a week and store them in the fridge for lunches, dinners, or as a protein snack.
If you’re running out the door, have a fruit bowl full of ready-to-eat fruit on hand, and prepare small containers of raw nuts to have in the fridge. When you’re running out the door to see your kids, put one of these containers in your bag along with a slice of fruit. While travelling between appointments, having a snack on hand can help prevent hypoglycemia and subsequent sugar cravings.