How Caregivers Can Practice Self-Care
Posted on April 24, 2018 |
This blog post was written by guest writer, Harry Cline, author and caregiver
For many caregivers, finding the best ways to ensure their loved one is well taken care of while also taking care of their own needs can be overwhelming. This is especially true for those who are charged with caring for an elderly family member. Balancing self-care with the correct amount of attention to their patient’s needs isn’t always easy and can lead to guilt or other negative emotions. It’s important to remember that, as a caregiver, it will be impossible for you to properly tend to your patient if you yourself aren’t happy and healthy. There are more tips and resources at the Caregiver Action Network.
Self-care involves a number of aspects, from ensuring that you get enough rest, to figuring out a daily exercise routine that will help you stay strong. Caregiving can take a physical toll, so finding a good way to keep yourself fit and in shape will help prevent injuries.
Get in a workout
Taking care of your body is an essential part of being a caregiver and it can help you stay healthy while giving you an outlet for any frustrations or negative feelings you may have. Create a daily workout routine that incorporates all the things you need to feel good. One great exercise is yoga because it keeps you physically fit while allowing you to meditate and focus on the present moment, which will lower your anxiety. Also, consider learning more about stretching, which is wonderful for relieving stress. There are several stretchesthat can be done anywhere, and quickly, which makes it easy to fit stretching into your daily routine.
Surround yourself with support
Caregiving can be a very demanding job in a lot of ways, so it’s important to surround yourself with people who support youand will help out when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s also a good idea to maintain a healthy social life since being a caregiver will often require that you to be present for your loved one for many hours of the day. Maintaining friendships and other relationships will help your mental health even when the work becomes difficult.
Because caregiving can be such a difficult job, it’s essential to keep your strength up. Eating well-balanced mealswill help give you the strength—physically and mentally―to carry out even the most demanding tasks during the job. Pay attention to your body and its needs, particularly when it comes to the times between meals. If you work long hours, pack healthy, protein-rich snacks that you can grab quickly.
Find a hobby
Having a hobby that you enjoy doing is a great way to relieve stress at the end of a long day, and it can help act as a sort of therapy when you’re feeling down. Whether it’s something creative, such as painting or writing, or social, such as playing basketball with a group of friends, having something to look forward to will let you release energy and make you feel healthier.
Get enough rest
Making sure you get enough rest is always important, in part because it can affect your brain function and performance. Caregivers have a lot on their plates, so getting at least seven hours of sleep each night is essential. Create a bedtime routine that will allow you to relax before you lie down, and get into the habit of going to bed at the same time every night.
Practicing self-care is one of the best ways to reduce stress and to learn how to cope with all the challenges that come your way in a given day. But what works for one person may not work for you. It’s important, therefore, to make sure you customize a plan for your own needs.
The COPD Foundation advises that before you make any changes to your medication or therapies that you first consult with your doctor.