Let’s talk about self-care!
As a caregiver for a client or loved one, maybe it feels like you always put their needs before yours. This feels like the “right” thing to do, but it can drain you and keep you from giving the best care possible. It is hard to give back to someone else when you are too tired or stressed to take care of yourself.
To help you catch your breath while caregiving, here are six ways to practice self-care so that you can better care for your client or loved one:
Go for a walk
Exercise is one of the quickest ways to make your body and brain feel better. Take a walk around the neighborhood and use that time to think about your day or take a total break while you enjoy nature.
Give yourself five minutes
Sometimes it feels like you are on the clock 24/7. Instead of using a quieter time in the day for planning or extra work, try to save at least five minutes just to relax.
Do something you enjoy
Five or ten minutes is not always enough time to fully recharge. If you are feeling extra worn out, take time to do something you really like. Watch a movie, have lunch with a friend, or drive around and listen to your favorite radio station. Doing things you love will make you feel happier and have a more positive attitude about the work you do.
Talk it out
It can be really tiring and lonely to care for someone else. After harder days or weeks, talk to a friend, family member, or another caregiver about your highs and lows. Don’t bottle up feelings that will make you feel worse!
Ask other caregivers
Each caregiver will have their own ways of de-stressing that work for them. Ask a caregiver friend for advice or join a caregiver community that can help you handle the stress of caregiving. There are also many online options for connecting with caregiving peers, such as Facebook support groups and other forums. (Care.com)
Seek professional help
This list does not cover all of the ways you can handle caregiving stress and might not be enough for caregivers struggling with physical or mental health conditions like depression. Try counseling and other professional options if and when they are right for you. There is nothing wrong with getting the help you need to help others!