Take Care of Yourself

Many parents find it hard to leave the hospital, or their child's room, even for a short time. Others find that as much as they want to be with their child, they can not stay at the hospital all the time. You need to take care of yourself if you are going to be able to help your child. Try following the suggestions below:

–Eat regular and balanced meals

Have friends or relatives take you out for a meal and give you a break from the hospital. Avoid skipping meals and filling up on coffee or junk food.

–Rest and nap

The emotional stress will take its toll on you physically sooner or later. Naps can help you get through the day, especially if you're getting less sleep at night than usual. Even if you don't sleep, resting in a quiet room can relieve stress and restore you physically and emotionally.

–Exercise to get rid of nervous energy

Pacing halls and corridors may make you feel even more wound up. Try to get out of the hospital for a walk or find some activity at home to help relieve stress.

–Talk with friends

Telling close friends what has happened and how you are feeling can release the tension of "holding it all inside." Many parents worry that they could have prevented the injury from happening. Some blame themselves and feel they have failed their child. Another common feeling is anger. You may feel angry at yourself or you may direct anger towards others. Sharing these feelings with others helps you deal with them.

–Keep a journal or diary

Putting your thoughts and feelings on paper can help you sort through your emotions. It gives a place for your most private thoughts. It can also help later as you look back on what you have been through.

–Take some time to be alone

With so many things going on and questions to ask, you may not "know which way to turn," or "which end is up anymore." Take some time each day to be by yourself, even if only for a few minutes. Let others know not to disturb you. Don't wait until you go to bed at night or the house is empty. Do it for yourself whenever you need it.

–It's okay to wait

Take it easy on yourself. You can't do everything. People will understand. Cancel what you can and postpone what can wait.

Ask for Help

This can be the simplest and the hardest thing to do. Most people want to help, but they have to know what you need and what they can do. Make a list of what you need and who can help.

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