It’s challenging as a busy caregiver to make self-care a priority in your life. The hours fly by, and before you know it, another day is done. Though you’ve taken care of the needs of the person in your care, you probably haven’t done very much for your own well-being.
As a caregiver, you have many duties to perform for your loved one and yourself, and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to take care of both of you. That overload causes stress, and it has physical, emotional, and mental consequences.
Common problems that caregivers experience are:
- Poor eating habits and weight gain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- High blood pressure
- A weakened immune system
- Abuse of alcohol, drugs, or prescription medication
These problems not only affect you; they affect the person in your care. When you’re not feeling your best, you can’t perform your best, and it can affect your effectiveness as a caregiver. This means that both of you are having adverse effects and is a sure sign that you need to make self-care a priority.
7 Tips to Prioritize Self-Care as a Busy Caregiver
Like any challenge in life, once caregiver stress is identified, it can be dealt with.
After going through the list above and seeing that you are having some challenges, it’s time to prioritize self-care. Here are seven ways to prioritize self-care as a busy caregiver:
1. Dedicate some time to you
It doesn’t have to be hours; 30 minutes a day is just fine. Go for a walk and enjoy nature, or use that time to take a relaxing bath. Meditate. Do yoga. There are many ways to spend time doing something you enjoy.
2. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Understand that you’re doing the best you can, and what you’re doing is very difficult. Caring for another person is never easy, and when they’re a loved one, it can seem even more challenging. Continue to do your best each day and enjoy the self-satisfaction that provides you.
3. Eat, sleep, and exercise
Yes, it’s easier said than done. But it needs to be done for your well-being. Without proper nutrition, rest, and movement, we can become lethargic and over-tired. By taking care of these three components of your life, you’ll be much better equipped to handle the tasks at hand.
4. Practice good self-talk
How we think affects what we do and how we feel. If you’re telling yourself that you’re not good enough, you’re going to start believing it, and your behavior may match your beliefs. Speak kindly to yourself and watch your confidence soar. It will also do wonders for your energy level.
5. Get off social media
As a caregiver, you may find yourself living vicariously through others on social media. You may see people having all kinds of fun that you used to have, and wished you were having right now. Keep in mind that people are putting forth their best persona on social media. They have challenges too. Spend this time watching or reading something inspirational, instead.
6. Take time off when you need it
If you’ve gotten to the breaking point, you’ve gone too long without taking a break. Once you start experiencing any of the problems listed above, take a few days or a week off. The world will not come to an end if you take the necessary time off to recharge your batteries.
7. Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask for a helping hand when you need it. You’ll be surprised how many people will help out by taking your loved one on an errand or preparing a meal or two for you. Respite care is available. Take advantage of it.
Help At Home has been providing personalized in-home care for over 20 years. When we talk together, you’ll receive personal attention on your very first call. Contact us today. We look forward to helping you and the special person in your life.