Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Exhaustion in allergy parents

Exhaustion is defined as a state of extreme physical or mental tiredness. It occurs when something (typically our energy levels) have been used up.

Parents of kids with allergies (or any other chronic illness for that matter) understand what it feels like to be exhausted: the need to be constantly alert; the need to be constantly organised; to be only one step away from making a devastating mistake. Our energy levels quite simply get used up! But being exhausted or feeling exhausted still doesn't change the needs of our children.

It's now the beginning of March, and we have just come through the stress of Christmas, family gatherings, starting school/kinder, new teachers, new routines... and we wonder why we are exhausted?! But wait, Easter is coming up, and still another 10 months till we do it all again! Clearly, we need help, or a new way of doing things, or a bit of both.

So what do we do?? There are many practical steps we can take to ease the load. Here are just a few:

Keep a pantry well stocked with snacks and treats that are ready to go:
- Small packets of crisps/popcorn/potato stix
- Fruit cups or packets of pureed fruit (check out the baby aisle if you don't want additives etc)
- Dried fruit or fruit based lollies (check out the baby aisle again for bite sized snacks)
- Small packets of lollies and chocolates. If you can't get small packets, simply pour a few into a small container or paper cupcake liner
- Juice boxes

For something a little more substantial at a party:
- corn thins/ rice crackers with biocheese (coconut cheese for us)
- slices of ham
- small tin of baked beans

We also like to have cupcakes in the freezer that can be easily topped with either fondant or just a pile of lollies.

LIMIT the number of outings each weekend or day to something that is manageable for your family at this time. This might mean missing out on something, but it will also mean actually enjoying the chosen event much more. It takes time to pack and unpack, so having planned activities back to back is a recipe for mistakes as well as tears.

EXERCISE is good for the body as well as the heart and mind. Finding a way to get your body moving is a great way to release pent up stress. When our minds have a tendency to flit from one thought to another, it helps to pick an activity that demands your full attention. Exercise classes that demand some level of mental focus and coordination are great for helping to increase focus on the present and let go of the things we can't control. I've tried Zumba, boxing, and circuit classes - all of them help me to take off the load of allergy parenting, and concentrate on the present.

REST and RECOOPERATION is needed for the mind and for the body. For the body, a good night's sleep does everyone wonders! Make sure you get to bed at a regular time, or you won't have the energy to face anything or anyone tomorrow. Finding time for friends, away from the stress of allergy parenting does wonders for the soul. Enjoy a movie or a dinner where you don't have to take a bag of goodies, plus wipes, plus medications. Be carefree, for a litttle while at least!

If some of these points resonate with you but you're not sure where or how to start, face to face appointments are available in Rowville, Victoria. If you live further a field, online appointments can be arranged using Facebook Messenger etc. Our family has dealt with allergies (including anaphylaxis) to  dairy, eggs, peanuts, all nuts, soy, wheat, oats, shellfish, seafood and some other random foods. We also understand the stress of asthma, dustmites and hayfever.

Exhaustion is exhausting. If you would like personalised support, please send me an email.


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