Taking care of a loved one can stretch caregivers to the limit. The everyday tasks involved often keep caregivers from taking care of themselves.
It’s important for caregivers to remember to make their own health and well-being a priority. Here are a few tips how you can do it:
- Don’t try to do everything for everyone. Saying “no” at times will free up your time and can also help people learn to be independent. And don’t let saying “no” immediately lead to feelings of guilt. The time you take to stay healthy makes you better able to help others be healthy, too.
- Do something you love. That means something that you’re passionate about, that inspires or relaxes you (maybe both). Sometimes you get so busy that you even forget what it is you love to do. Take the time to remember and find out; it’s important for you.
- Make time in your schedule for you. Your time is yours. It’s wonderful that you spend some of it – even much of it – looking after others. But manage your time to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, nutrition, exercise and fun. Whether it’s alone time or socializing, make it happen.
- Find your own caregivers. Life can’t be a one-way street where you’re always taking care of others with no one ever looking after you. Look for people and resources that can support you just like you support others. That can be friends, doctors, counselors, spiritual guidance, as well as groups that lend a hand to caregivers just like you.
There is plenty of help out there for you. Don’t hesitate to make use of it. You’re important, too.