When you’re a caregiver, one of the most important things you can do is make time for yourself. It can be as simple as spending 10 minutes of exercise, reading the latest bestseller or your favorite hobby. Even a small step toward rejuvenation will benefit you, and in turn, the loved one you give care to every day.
The fact is, if you don’t learn how to take time for yourself, your frustration is likely to boil over. You’ll be less productive, and your relationship with your loved one could suffer.
Consider this list of things you can do for yourself:
- Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone! ACG can help you through any stage of your caregiver journey, whether it is 1 hour of Respite care or our daily care options.
- Take care of your health so that you can be healthy enough to take care of your loved one. This includes eating well, daily exercise, and mental health breaks.
- Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you. Don’t feel like you have to do it all by yourself.
- Keep humor in your life. It’s true — laughter is the best medicine. Watch a silly TV program or seek out a movie that makes you laugh. Find things to laugh about with the loved one in your care — that person needs joy too.
- Caregiving is hard work, so take respite breaks often.
- Be vigilant for signs of depression. The demands placed on you as a caregiver can be difficult and stressful. Often depression symptoms can be managed with the help of therapy or medication.
- Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
- Organize medical information, so it’s up to date and easy to find. Keep your checkbook and accounts balanced, work when you need to, and don’t stop planning for the future. If you allow yourself to be immersed in your caregiver responsibilities alone, it’ll be harder to re-integrate into life later on.
- Stay connected with the outside world. Don’t allow yourself to become isolated. Stay connected with family and friends, even if it’s just by phone or online. Talk to friends about something other than your role as a caregiver.
- Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!