When you’re caring for loved ones, it has a major impact on your own health and wellbeing. No matter how much you want to be able to care for family members and friends, it’s essential to focus on your own physical and mental health too. To ensure you’re prioritizing your own wellbeing, take a look at these top tips for practicing self-care as a caregiver:
Factor in breaks
Take a look at your current schedule and highlight the breaks you’ve given yourself. Chances are, they will be non-existent or minimal. However, no-one can provide care for someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Accessing additional support will enable you to factor more breaks into your schedule and give you the time to rest and re-energize.
When you’re tired from working and caring for loved ones, the last thing you probably feel like doing is hitting the gym or heading out for a run. However, exercise is a vital form of self-care. As well as boosting your physical wellbeing, the release of endorphins will transform your emotional wellbeing too.
Scale back your work commitments
If you’re working full-time and caring for a loved one, you might simply find that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Fortunately, you can get paid to take care of family members, so don’t hesitate to sign up for relevant programs and schemes. This extra financial support could enable you to reduce your work hours and give you more opportunities to practice self-care.
Monitor your own health
If you’re experiencing physical or emotional health problems, be sure to consult a physician. Being a caregiver can be physically demanding, so it’s not unusual for caregivers to experience physical injuries, such as back pain, muscle strains, and repetitive strain injuries. Make the time to visit your doctor and ensure your own wellbeing remains a top priority.
Have a contingency plan
If you’re a sole caregiver, you’ll need to have a contingency plan in place for when you need support. If you’re unwell, injured or simply need a break, you may need to rely on someone to step in. Extended family members and close friends might be willing to lend their support but, if not, talk to local care firms to find out more about the services they offer. When you know you have access to the support you need, you’ll feel calmer and more confident about taking time for yourself.
Understand the Impact of Being a Caregiver
Being a caregiver is a taxing role, regardless of who you’re caring for or how much you want to look after them. While it’s natural to want to provide physical, practical, and emotional support to your loved ones, you can’t do this at the expense of your own wellbeing.
By making self-care an essential part of every day, you can ensure that you’re putting your own needs first too. While it’s common for caregivers to feel guilty about this, you’ll soon realize that you can’t provide on-going care if you’re not feeling your best. By putting yourself first, you can ensure you’re well-placed to provide the care your loved one needs and that you’re able to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle too.