A parent of a child with exceptionalities quickly learns that growing a thick skin is mandatory. Anyone dealing with years of phone calls, follow-ups, reminding, begging, pleading and pestering is susceptible to burnout at one time or another.
These helpful tips will help you avoid Advocate Burnout:
- Keep an organized datebook to avoid wondering what you’ve forgotten.
- Unless necessary, don’t make more than one advocate phone call a day. If you must make more than one, put an end to the calls as soon as possible. Losing your cool at a therapy provider or secretary will get you nowhere good. It’s way too easy to get frustrated.
- If you can, email or text the doctor, teacher, care provider, etc. ahead of time. It’ll take less of your time and you might even get the answer or action you need without having to track people down by phone. Use the “schedule text” feature on your phone in order to type everything in when you have a chance and have it arrive at the recipient when it’s most likely to get attended to.
- Make sure to take time off. Rewards don’t need to be expensive. Take a walk, see a movie, cook something fabulous. Do what you need to do to turn off the worry and aggravation bugs.
- Periodically disconnect from your cellphone. You’ll live, really! Knowing that there are times when you can actually complete a task without multiple interruptions or the threat thereof will quickly return you to feeling human.
- Try to see things from the side of the system. It helps to remember that many people involved in the red tape you must navigate are underpaid and overworked. Most of these people truly want to help your child, but are as bound by restraints and run-around as you are. Having this in mind puts you more in the brainspace of being “on the same team”.
- Take care of yourself. Being ill makes everything that much more difficult, so eat right and make some time to exercise. I know, you’ve heard this over and over, but really – it makes a huge difference.
- Keep your eyes on the prize. Envision your goals. Educational mapping (linked) helps with this, giving you more of a window to the big picture.
Hug your kid(s), keep a stiff upper lip and when all else fails, I hear they’re having an ice cream sale at the supermarket…