Caring for yourself is one of the most important and one of the most forgotten things you can do as a caregiver.
On the one hand, caring for your family member demonstrates love and commitment and can be a very rewarding personal experience.
On the other, exhaustion, worry, inadequate resources, and continuous care demands are enormously stressful.
Reducing Personal Stress.
How we perceive and respond to an event is a significant factor in how we adjust and cope with it.
The stress you feel is not only the result of your caregiving situation but also the result of your perception, is it a glass half-full or half-empty.
Recognize warning signs early, identify sources of stress, acknowledge what you can and cannot change and take action.
Setting goals or deciding what you would like to accomplish in the next 3 to 6 months is an important tool for taking care of yourself.
Get help with caregiving tasks like bathing and preparing meals and engage in activities that will make you feel more healthy.
Taking action to solve a problem can change the situation and also change your attitude to a more positive one, giving you more confidence.
Identify the problem and look at the situation with an open mind. The real problem might not be what first comes to mind.
Being able to communicate constructively is one of a caregiverʼs most important tools.
When you communicate in ways that are clear, assertive, and constructive, you will be heard and get the help and support you need.
Asking for and Accepting Help.
Many caregivers donʼt know how to marshal the goodwill of others and are reluctant to ask for help.
Help can come from community resources, family, friends, and professionals. Ask them. Donʼt wait until you are overwhelmed and exhausted.
Talking to the Physician.
While caregivers will discuss their loved oneʼs care with the physician, caregivers seldom talk about their own health.
Building a partnership with a physician that addresses the health needs of the care recipient and the caregiver is crucial.
Starting to Exercise.
Exercise promotes better sleep, reduces tension and depression, and increases energy and alertness.
Incorporate exercise into your daily activity. Perhaps the care recipient can walk or do stretching exercise with you.
Remember, it is not selfish to focus on your own needs and desires when you are a caregiver—it’s an important part of the job.
Thank you caregiver.org for this content!