Self-care is an oft-used term these days, but for good reason. Caring for others, especially loved ones, is an important part of our lives, but it can be draining day in and day out. In order to be your best self when caring for your family members, you need to take care of yourself, too.
Self-care for Caregivers
Here are a few ways you can care for yourself:
- Listen to podcasts during your drive to and from caregiving, work or appointments can be a great way to learn about topics you find interesting and to take time for yourself. Many podcasts are around 30 minutes — often the perfect amount of time for one or two drives. If you have little ones in the car, there are many family-oriented and kid-friendly podcasts that will allow everyone in the vehicle a moment to listen and learn.
- Use a gratitude journal can be a method of reflection after a long, hectic day. It can be easy to dwell on the hard or negative parts of your day, especially under the strain of caring for a family member. Try writing down 3-5 things from your day that brought you joy … and read through past entries when you are having an especially tough day.
- Get enough sleep. Caring for a loved one with a medical condition can sometimes mean loss of sleep, but if possible, try to get in 7-8 hours per night. Being well-rested makes it much easier to get through the day without getting frustrated or upset by everyday setbacks, simply due to lack of sleep.
- Seek respite care. Respite care is a great way to have a momentary break from the responsibilities of caring for your family member. One example of respite care would be taking a few hours once a week when your loved one can spend time with a caregiver from Senior Home Companions while you run errands, go to appointments or simply spend time doing something you enjoy. This scheduled time can give both you and your loved one something to look forward to each week.
- Take a vacation. Respite care can also look like taking a few days or a week in order to get away for a vacation. Rejuvenating at least once a year on a trip by yourself or with your spouse, children or close friends is a great way to practice self-care.
Again, self-care is not selfish. Taking time for yourself means that you can take even better care of the others around you, and coming back together with your loved ones is made even sweeter after some time apart.
For more information about our caregiving services, contact us at 800-736-4692.