Share the Caring: Tips for Caregivers to Care for Themselves
As a caregiver, you undoubtedly take on a lot. You are a consistent companion for those who can no longer help themselves. Sometimes you are helping a loved one or a stranger who becomes a loved one. And while it is incredibly important to be present, alert, and ready to help others, do not forget about yourself.
All too often caregivers put themselves by the wayside because there are “more important” matters to tend to. This can result in caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout happens when you don’t take the time to reset and refuel yourself.
It is more important now than ever to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. We are experiencing very uncertain times. This can add to already built-up stress. So what can you do to make sure you don’t experience burnout or unnecessary stress?
1. Schedule “me time”
If you love to draw a bubble bath and soak while reading your favorite book, then do it! Make sure when you are finished working that you always carve out some time to do one or two things that relax you and make you happy. Even if you only have an hour before your home life chaos begins, give yourself that time to unwind and decompress.
2. Follow a strict sleep schedule
Sometimes it may seem impossible to shut your mind off, especially at night. But, it is imperative that you strive to maintain a proper sleep schedule. If you have a hard time falling asleep at night, try limiting your device usage an hour or two before you want to go to bed. This can help you to not lose track of the time by scrolling through your apps for hours on end. Also, try creating a little nighttime routine to get your body prepared for sleep, and even throw in some essential oils or soothing sounds to calm your brain.
3. Maintain a healthy diet
One of the simplest ways to care for yourself is through a balanced diet. Be sure to eat breakfast before you start your workday and plan for snack breaks and meals accordingly. You cannot expect to be able to help others if your tank is running on empty. Another good tip is to drink plenty of water throughout the day to make sure you are hydrated and alert.
4. Cut yourself some slack
While it may seem like your to-do list is never-ending, CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK! Sometimes dishes and laundry pile up. Sometimes you haven’t vacuumed for a few days. It’s OK, it happens. Allow yourself to slack off from time to time and recognize that the chores will get done. There is no need to place added pressure or stress on yourself.
Make sure you care not only for others but for yourself as well. If you maintain your own well-being you will be able to better aid others and be your best self.