Whether you are in the profession of caregiving, or taking care of a loved one, caregiving can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. For family members, caregiving might also lead to additional pressures such as financial strains, conflict and social withdrawal. Gradually, caregiver stress can lead to burnout, hence it is important to remember to take care of yourself and recharge your batteries.
Here, we’ll like to share 5 ways to care for yourself if you are a caregiver:
1. Make eating well and getting quality sleep your priorities
While caring for others, it might be easy to forget about your own meals and rest time. To prevent caregiver burnout, it is key to maintain sufficient sleep and nutrition everyday. Missing meals can lead to irritability, fatigue and lack of energy, so remember to eat regular meals throughout the day.
Build a daily 10-minute nighttime routine to achieve more restful sleep.
2. Maintain a hobby
It’s also crucial to keep up some interests outside of your role as a caregiver. Maintaining a hobby is one way to keep yourself feeling fresh and possibly to remain connected with others in different roles.
There are many different stress-relieving hobbies to consider such as scrapbooking, painting, exercising, knitting, photography and writing, just to name a few. Some of these can be maintained at home and done together with your loved one, along with some that will take you outside and connect you with others as well.
3. Try a mind-body practice like yoga, meditation and deep relaxation techniques
Other than maintaining a hobby or a form of leisure, mind-body practices are also a different form of relaxation. These practices not only build physical health, but it also deepens a sense of awareness and connection between the mind and body.
Mindfulness meditation and deep relaxation techniques can also reduce stress.
4. Maintain social connection
Balancing time and energy as a caregiver might be difficult, especially keeping social appointments with family and friends. However it is important to maintain these social connections outside of your home to feel less isolated and prevent burnout.
Another alternative would be to find support through local caregiver support groups, or connect with caregivers alike through social groups, for example through Facebook.
Realising that you are not alone and that there are others who are going through similar experiences will help you nurture your ability and sense of self-compassion.
5. Self-compassion is essential to self-care
Being kind to yourself is the foundation to self-care. Self-compassion means giving yourself credit for the tough work of caregiving and step away from the self-critical, harsh inner voice. Allow yourself some time, even if it’s a few minutes a day, to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.
You might even feel guilty or selfish for paying attention to your own needs but always remember: “practicing self-care allows the caregiver to remain more balanced, focused, and effective, which helps everyone involved.”
Caregivers are responsible with the important duty of providing support and encouragement for the ones they are caring for, as well as themselves. Their critical role is often overlooked, but it plays a very important part in the lives of many, especially the elderlies.
Here at Global Ehsan Relief, we aim to provide assistance to the elderly by supplying them with essentials and also provide other necessities. Many have no children or family who can support them. Join us in our effort to provide relief to the elderly communities as well as their caregivers through our Care for the Elderly campaign.