Taking care of yourself while being a caregiver should be a priority. If for no other reason than if you were to get ill, you couldn’t take care of your loved one. I have to tell you from experience the emotional and physical strain of being a caregiver took a toll on me when I was taking care of my mom. I am sure that had I not done something for myself I would have come out the other side with more problems than I had.
Taking care of yourself stress relievers.
Take time for yourself.
Go get your nails done. Take a walk. Have lunch with a friend. Whatever it is take time for yourself every day. Sometimes, all I had time for was to read an article on the internet. But I told myself I needed a few minutes to reconnect with myself to do something I wanted to do just for me. What worked for me was to get up earlier than anyone else just so I can have a cup of coffee in peace. I still do it to this day.
Accept and seek out help
Make a list of things other people can do for you. So when you are asked if they can help you are ready. It could be something as simple as taking the person you are caring for on a walk 2 or 3 times a week, cooking dinner once a week, or grocery shopping. I had a cousin that lived close to my mom’s nursing home and she would take time to visit with her 3 and 4 times a week. They were good friends and my mom really enjoyed her visits.
Don’t beat yourself up.
Believe you are doing the best you can and making the right decisions. I had a hard time with this one. However, looking back I realize I did do my best for my mom and my family. I just wish I knew it at the time. I think feeling guilty is a natural part of being a caregiver of a loved one. But no one is perfect so give yourself a break.
Being in touch with family and friends was a tremendous help for me. Hopefully you have someone who makes you laugh, is a shoulder to cry on, who is a good listener. I was lucky enough to have a few.
Set up a daily/weekly routine.
Prioritizing, making lists, setting realistic goals is a good place to start. Breaking large tasks into smaller bite size jobs helped me get the task done and not feel overwhelmed.
See your doctor and dentist.
Getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, being physically active, and drinking plenty of water should be part of your daily routine. But also making sure you get your recommended immunizations, screenings, and check ups. Don’t hesitate to mention any concerns or symptoms you may have.
So when I was taking care of my mom after her accident, I had daily and weekly routines. I stayed very connected with family and friends. I asked for help when I was not able to be with my mom(I lived 450 miles away from her). I hired a Geriatric Care Manager( if you don’t know what GCM is click here). I took time out to do things just for me. The biggest one of all I saw a doctor.
Taking care of yourself is not easy at times. If you make it a priority you will be happier, healthier and less stressed.