Did you know that in general, people who act as family caregivers are less likely than others to practice self-care? As a caregiver, one of the most important things you can do for both yourself and the person you’re caring for is to take good care of yourself.
Take Care of Your Own Health
Caring for someone else doesn’t mean your own health should take a back seat. Be sure to make regular doctor’s appointments for yourself, and talk to your physician about any concerns you have. Set goals to take care of your own basic needs, like eating nutritious meals and snacks, getting enough sleep, and exercising.
Practice Stress-Reduction Techniques
Caregiving can be stressful, taking a toll on your mental, emotional, and physical health. Learn and apply techniques like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness to keep yourself centered. Other options to help you relax could include coloring, journaling, taking a bath, or scheduling a power nap into your day.
Do Something You Love
Your personal happiness has a huge effect on your quality of life and the level of care you are able to give to others, so make time to do things that you enjoy. Go to lunch with a friend, spend time on your favorite hobby, or treat yourself to something special.
Ask for Help
The burden of caregiving can be lightened when you share it with others. Family and friends are often willing to help, but may not know what to do. Making specific requests—such as asking someone to make a meal or run a few errands—can make your day more manageable. You may also want to consider professional help. It’s an investment, but it can come with significant benefits to your well-being.
Take time off
It’s important to give yourself a break from the demands of caregiving. Make arrangements to have someone else take care of your loved one for a while so you can have some time off. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and more able to cope with your caregiving responsibilities.
Self-care is a vital part of being a family caregiver. Taking care of yourself allows you to be a better caregiver to your loved one, stay healthy, and enjoy all that life has to offer.