Proper self-care is an absolute necessity. Being a caregiver is not an easy task, especially for those with homes and children of their own. It is too easy to give and give of yourself until there is nothing left, which impacts your own health and overall well-being. However, it is possible to avoid such an eventuality and carve out a space for your own needs. You are important, and you can’t do what you need to do without restoring your own health—mentally, physically and spiritually. Put yourself first to do your best for those you love and depend upon you.
Tips for Caregiver Self-Care
- Support Your Mental Health.
Look into available resources to support your needs and reenergize. Group therapy is a wonderful resource. Individual caregivers can discuss their concerns and feelings in an open format and benefit from the realization that there are others out there with similar circumstances. This is of particular use for those that are sole caregivers and do not have siblings or family members that can provide this type of support objectively. In addition, a 20-minute walk in nature, meditation or even a warm bath can help calm frazzled nerves.
- Keep Your Friends Close.
Friends and loving family provide a necessary respite from daily demands. Meeting up for a few hours, indulging in a spa day, or taking off for a girl’s getaway can be just the thing to restore a weary body and mind. Kicking back with a girlfriend, preparing a meal together, or laughing at your favorite show helps refuel your tank, allowing you a moment for yourself and your needs.
- Look for Help in Your Community.
Those that are spiritually inclined can turn to their family church, synagogue or religious institution for respite and additional services. They may be able to provide additional meals to seniors to relieve the burden of cooking from time to time or others may volunteer to help clean or run errands for aging parents with less mobility. Speak to your religious leader to learn more about options that may be available. Prayer or a spiritual meditation is also known to be of benefit for those going through stressful periods in their lives. Create connections with those around you and be open about your needs. You may be surprised at what can be done or what is freely available.
- Stay on Top of Your Health.
Those that are stressed often turn to a diet that includes more processed foods and may drink or smoke more. Try to limit amounts of sugar, alcohol or smoking, all known to do harm to your body. Try to stick to a whole-foods diet, with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits and an array of protein to fuel your body. Yoga, aerobics, swimming and other forms of exercise help tone muscles, improve cardiovascular health and prevent injury from caregiving and other physical activities. Make and keep your doctor appointments. Regular check-ups and blood work can alert you in the event of any changes to your health early on that may need to be addressed.