I’m too busy…
I don’t have enough time for…
If I don’t do it, no one will…
Are you guilty of having these or similar thoughts? Often times family caregivers get lost in the caregiving role and forget to care for themselves, however caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver.
Caregivers often report problems attending to their own health and well-being such as:
- Poor eating habits
- Failure to exercise
- Sleep deprivation
- Failure to make medical appointments for themselves
- Failure to stay in bed when ill
How can you keep from losing yourself in the caregiving role?
First, you need to identify what is in your way.
- Do you think it is selfish to put your needs first?
- Do you struggle with asking for what you need, or do you feel inadequate if you ask for help?
- Do you feel frightened thinking of your own needs? If so, what is the fear about?
- Do you feel the need to prove you are worthy of your care recipient’s affection? Does this cause you to do too much, as a result?
Once you have established where you stand, you can then begin to move forward and change your behavior and thoughts about caregiving.
How can you move forward?
- Reduce and Manage Personal Stress
Stress reducers can be simple activities such as taking a walk, gardening, coffee with a friend, exercise.
- Set Goals
Set realistic goals that you would like to accomplish, then work towards them.
- Seek Solutions
Once you have identified a problem, take steps toward solving it,
- Communicate Constructively
Being able to communicate effectively and constructively is very important for caregivers. We have a course entitled “Communication ‘In the Crunch’” that might be of some assistance.
- Ask for and Accept Help
Be prepared with a mental or physical list of how others can help you, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are many community resources, professionals, friends and family ready to help.
- Talk to a Physician
Speaking to a physician about your care recipient’s needs is extremely important for caregivers, but speaking to the physician about YOUR needs is equally as important.
- Begin Exercising
Exercise improves endurance, strength, flexibility as well as promotes better sleep, reduces tension and depression and increases energy.
- Learn from your Emotions
Learn to listen to your emotions and take appropriate action.
The information from this blog post was derived from the Family Caregiver Alliance article entitled “Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregiver.” For more in-depth information please refer to the following article: Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers.
This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on March 3, 2017.