When it comes to managing care for loved ones, it can be a very stressful job. We all know that stress in our lives should be managed, so caring for yourself as a family caregiver becomes vitally important. This means ensuring that you’re eating healthy meals, staying active, and taking time for yourself. If you’re looking for innovative and different ways to care for yourself, then this article is designed just for you! Keep reading to learn more.
The Elephant In The Room
Before we introduce ideas to help you care for yourself, we should probably address the elephant in the room. That is – feeling frustrated and guilty as a family caregiver. Caregiving, especially without breaks, can lead to a plethora of emotions, both negative and positive. This includes feeling frustrated, angry, resentful, and overwhelmed. It is important to understand that all of these feelings are completely normal, and when you recognize they’re there, it is a sure sign that you need a break. Taking a break inevitably brings up feelings of guilt, for feeling angry in the first place, so just remind yourself – you can’t care for others if you aren’t caring for yourself.
Start scheduling regular occasions when you have a break. Respite care, even just a few hours a week, can give a family caregiver the perfect time to rest, relax, and recover. Homewatch CareGivers of Sterling can help with not only respite care, but also resources that will help you find activities for you and your loved one to participate in to help find relief.
Tips for Caring For Yourself as a Family Caregiver
The most important tip to help you care for yourself as a family caregiver is to create a list of other people who can help. Sharing responsibility right from the beginning helps you later when you have an emergency, need more help, or caregiving responsibilities increase. Once you have a list of people you can call, make sure you start incorporating those people into a routine right away. This way, if there is an emergency later on, then there are already many people on hand to help. The other reason we incorporate friends, family, community, and neighbors into a care plan from the beginning, is that it frees everyone up for some downtime.
Our second “care for yourself” tip is to find someone to vent to. You will be frustrated at some point in time, whether it is with a healthcare professional, your loved one, or another caregiver. If you have someone you can talk to then it will help you process your emotions in a healthy way. Try to find either a professional, support group, or a friend that can answer the phone when you need them. Meeting other caregivers can also help you not feel so isolated and may give you inspiration if you’re dealing with specific problems related to caregiving that you need help with.
Our third “care for yourself” tip is to find other activities to participate in. Whether you take up a new hobby, take a class, or start volunteering, it is important to have something else to do that makes you feel useful. This way your whole purpose in life isn’t caring for someone else, instead it is multifaceted, as we’re meant to be. If you are a caregiver to a spouse, or you live with the person you’re caring for, this is particularly important because it gives you time away from the person you are caring for. Distance gives everyone perspective.
Our final “care for yourself” tip is to pamper yourself! Whether it is a relaxing bath, or a trip to the spa, it is important to find time where you can just relax and breathe. Research has shown that an act as simple as going out to a restaurant once a week can make a huge difference when it comes to our mental health and resilience. Pampering yourself can be simple, such as a walk through the woods, but most importantly it should be something that you can do weekly, and without fail. Prioritizing time to yourself is the key to making it work for you.
At Homewatch CareGivers of Sterling, we are always on hand to help you. Whether you’re looking for affordable respite care, or resources to help you find help in the community, we are available. Keep browsing our website to learn more about the different services we can offer, or contact us today to ask any questions you have.