Self-Care: An Essential Tool for Caregivers
It can be hard to stay positive and take care of yourself when you are a caregiver. Believe me, I get it. You might feel like life is running on autopilot, but what would happen if you paused and took some time for self-care?
We will discuss how taking care of yourself as a caregiver can help your mental health and improve the quality of your care and the care for your loved one.
What is self-care and why do caregivers need it?
The benefits of self-care are wide and varied but one thing that remains faithful and true is that you deserve to take care of yourself! Saying this loud for the caregivers in the back!
Self-care involves identifying your needs and meeting them in a healthy way. It is not selfish, it is necessary.
From my own experience as a caregiver to my mom, taking something good for myself often felt like I was playing hooky or just plain irresponsible. We all need some time to step away from the responsibility (and the distress) every now and then.
Finding time for yourself is one way to find joy in life and to help keep your mind alert. Time for yourself will also keep your energy level up so don't forget having a good rest at night counts too!
The benefits of practicing self-care as a caregiver
Self-care can also help reduce burnout, a major hazard in the caregiving role. After all, happy caregivers tend to be more productive than unhappy ones!
Do you want to know the funny thing about self-care? The most important form of self-care is not about tasks or activities; it involves ensuring your mind feels rested and content. If you're physically active, but emotionally exhausted because of stress, disappointment, grief, anger, guilt, whatever - then all your hard work will be for nothing.
Self-care doesn't require an expensive spa day; it is the simple things like getting enough restful sleep at night, eating nutritious food, regularly exercising, or just spending time with people who make you happy.
Practical tips for practicing self-care
So my dear caregivers, when it comes to the practice of self-care it really all boils down to 4 essentials:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat well
- Exercise regularly
- Spend time on things that make you happy
Whether you have been at this for a while now or if you are just starting out in the role, it's time to take some self-care actions. Your loved one needs you, but they also need to know that you're taking care of your own wellbeing. Self-care is important for all caregivers and it doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming.
My hope is that the practical tips I've shared on how to incorporate self-care will inspire you and hopefully become part of your routine! Share below how you have decided to incorporate self-care into your own day-to-day, or share your story with the community.
Does humor help you cope?