Mastering Stress with Mindful Techniques for Parents of Children with Autism

Let’s face it, caring for a child is stressful. And sometimes caring for a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can feel over-the-top stressful. In fact, studies report that parents and caregivers of children with ASD feel more stressed than those with children with other conditions like Down syndrome. However, parents can do a variety of things to lower their personal stress level. One technique found to be very helpful is mindfulness. 

What Is Mindfulness? 

When you’re able to be in the present moment, that’s when you’re being mindful. The goal with mindfulness isn’t about being perfect or getting everything right – after all, none of us gets everything right. It’s about understanding and accepting the things you can’t change. 

Where to Find Mindfulness Programs 

There are a lot of great apps and mindfulness exercises available online, including ones for kids, too. Here are a few to consider: 

Practicing mindfulness daily can help bring your stress levels down so you can enjoy the time you’re spending with your family and be the best caregiver that you can be.   

Other Ways to Lower Your Stress 

In addition to practicing mindfulness, one of the other things you can do is to recognize when you’re feeling more stressed than usual. Ask yourself, “How do I feel when things get to be too much?” Maybe you feel it in your body, like a headache or tightness in your neck. Maybe you feel more emotional. Maybe you are less patient with your child. Whatever the signs are for you, recognizing them is a first step.  

Here are several more ways to reduce stress: 

  • Get more sleep 
  • Eat healthily 
  • Exercise  
  • Take a time out (read a book in the bathtub or take a walk) 
  • Talk with a friend or family member 
  • Arrange for respite care if you need an extended break 

Finding time for yourself can feel like a luxury, but it’s something we all need to do – even just for a few minutes a day.