Tracking Your Own Self-Care as a Caregiver
The paradox of caregiving is that you often know your loved one or client more intimately than you know yourself. You track their every symptom, keep them on-schedule with medication and monitor their sleep. This intense focus is often called for in maintaining the health of your loved one, but it doesn’t have to come at the cost of your own well-being.
A little mindfulness will go a long way in keeping tabs on your own health. Your body may be sending you signals about what you need. Set aside a few minutes to do a full-body check regularly. Ask yourself, “How is my sleep? My appetite? My breathing? My vision? My zest for life?”
Ignoring these aspects of your health and life tends to happen slowly. They creep in. Suddenly, you don’t know how those 15 pounds got there or remember a time when your back wasn’t sore. Remember, your body is the ultimate warning system.
Of course, they may just be garden-variety aches and pains. We bet you wouldn’t hesitate, though, to bring such nagging concerns during your loved one’s next checkup. So, advocate for yourself as well. Notice changes in your body and feelings. Write them down. Look for patterns.
The saying is true, after all: You can’t pour from an empty cup.