“Go grocery shopping”
“Give Mom her medicine”
“Make Dr’s appointment for the kids”
If a list like this looks familiar, then you’re a busy caregiver.
But what’s on this list for you?
Yeah, we understand these things must get done but if you don’t help yourself you run the risk of burning yourself out before you’ll be able to get everything done.
Remember you can’t pour from an empty vessel.
Here are self-care tips to help your days go smoother and reduce the stress in your life.
Share the burden. You’re not alone in this. Seek out caregiver support groups and accept help when offered. Don’t carry this burden by yourself. it’s a hard burden to bare. Find someone to lean on. We have Caregiver guides to help you with just that.
Create time for yourself. This is something have to schedule and make a point to keep. Take time, even if it’s an hour, to sit in silence or read your favorite book. Just take some time to do something for yourself. Have a spa day, get a manicure or pedicure. Just make sure you do something for yourself!
Go to the doctor. While you’re taking your loved one and even kids back and forth to the doctor, you can’t forget yourself. To make it easier, take a day and make sure all of your doctor’s appointment are set for the year. This is important to make sure that your health is set so you can take care of your other responsibilities.
Do some physical activity. We know exercise is probably the last thing you’re thinking about. But it’s something that can help you manage stress and help to keep you healthy. You don’t have to join a gym or do intense exercises. You can take a short walk or quick lower intensive exercises just to get your endorphins going.
Set realistic goals. Don’t run yourself into the ground by trying to save the world in one day. It’s impossible. Instead set more realistic, measurable goals for yourself. Break your to-do list into monthly or weekly goals so you can tackle everything in a healthy and proficient manner.
Be more conscious of self-talk. What are you saying to yourself? Your self-talk dictates how your day will go.Instead of feeling things like guilt or regret, try to always remember you’re doing the best job you can. Say positive things to uplift yourself always.
Practice Stress Management. Being a caregiver comes with a lot. You’re bound to be stressed out a lot. Try practicing breathing and different activities that can help you to relax. Meditation is a good way to also manage stress.
Connect with family & friends. You’ve become distant with a lot of family and friends since you’ve become a caregiver. Maybe in some instances you feel that they’ve distanced themselves from you because they can’t handle the responsibility you have. It’s important to connect with them. If it’s just a phone conversation about how you’re feeling so they can understand. Let them understand just how much stress you are under and allow them to help if they ask.
Indulge Yourself. Everyone has little guilty pleasures. It’s okay to have that ice cream and cake snack you want. Or go to that fast food restaurant you’ve been craving. Or even watch the tv show everyone has been raving about. Everyone needs some comfort. So indulge in that comfort and don’t be ashamed.
Set Boundaries. It’s definitely boundaries that need to be set. Whether it’s having a certain time and place for eating or not allowing your loved ones in a certain room. Set your boundaries and keep a schedule so your loved one can easily abide by the rules you set. This will make it easier for you to have time for yourself.
Practice Gratitude. Gratitude is a great thing and can set the mood for even greater things to happen in your life. Before you go to sleep at night or before you start your day, name or write three things that you are thankful for. It could be something as small as being grateful you woke up. If you want, you can write them down and put them into a gratitude jar to review at the end of the year.
Journaling. Writing down your thoughts or just how your day went is beneficial because it’s an outlet. Use it as a way to vent and let your thoughts and concerns out if you have no other way.
Self-care is something that is so important for caregivers. Please don’t neglect yourself. Save some of the love and care you’re giving to everyone else to give to yourself. Sign up for a Caregiver Guide to give you more self-care tips.