Caregiving is often a role we enter with love, compassion, dedication and best intentions. But caring for a loved one with a serious illness can be difficult, overwhelming and exhausting. Life quickly becomes about your loved one, their illness and their needs. In the midst of caregiving it’s easy to lose your own wellbeing. UpliftedCare encourages caregivers to reboot in 2023 to focus on self-care. Here’s six tips for self-care for caregivers to use for a journey to better wellbeing.
Self-care Tips For Caregivers
- Find “Me-Time”: Schedule time each day for some “Me-Time”. Just a few minutes each day can help you recenter. Brew a cup of tea, take a walk, meditate, read a few chapters of your book, listen to music. Simply take a break every day. Actually scheduling a time each day can help ensure you remain dedicated to giving yourself this tiny bit of time focused only on you. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself, and then just do it.
- Reconnect With Friends. Friends enrich your life and improve your health. But when struggling with all the duties that come with caregiving, we sometimes sacrifice our time with friends. Carving out time to reconnect with friends, especially now, will help you feel less lonely, and help you regain an important part of yourself.
- Find Your Joy. Rediscover your joy. Reconnect to a favorite pastime, hobby, or activity. Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression. Finding time in your day to do something you enjoy doing can reduce negative stress while promoting wellbeing. Taking your mind away from the struggles of serious illness will help bolster your own mental health.
- Schedule ‘Real’ Away Time. It’s also important to enable yourself to have real time away, a real break that is more than a few minutes a day. Many hospices have volunteers who can spend time with your loved one allowing you to take a few hours away. Go have lunch with a friend, go to a movie, get a massage, take a break. Schedule real time away when you need it. Not giving yourself a meaningful break will lead to caregiver burnout and negatively affect your ability to truly care for your loved one.
- Know Your Limits. As your loved one’s disease progresses so will their needs. Dealing with a serious illness can become frightening and overwhelming. You also may get to a point when you’re feeling so depleted that you are really struggling to provide the best care for your loved one. Understanding when it is time for an extra layer of support is critical to your and your loved one’s wellbeing. Our Blog – When Is It Time To Talk About Extra Care provides some common indicators to look for that will help you know when it may be time to consider an extra layer of support.
- Give Yourself Credit. When struggling with caring for a loved one it’s easy to feel inadequate, that you could do better or provide even more support. Realize that you are doing the best you can and that you are providing a tremendous gift to your loved one. Because of you they are not facing this journey alone, they have care, support, love, compassion and someone to lean on. Acknowledge and accept the importance of your gift.
We hope you take the time for self-care. You may feel guilty taking time to think of yourself but in doing so you are actually helping your loved one. Taking time for self-care will empower you to be a better caregiver. No one can continue to run on empty for long. Caring for yourself will increase your wellbeing, protect your own health and decrease the likelihood of caregiver burnout. If you are struggling with caregiving, UplifedCare can provide an extra layer of support. We’re here to help you understand options for support, reach out to us today for answers, support and resources.