Ask Away...: Taking Care of Yourself When You’re Caring for Another

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Taking Care of Yourself When You’re Caring for Another

When you’re a caregiver, whether you’re looking after a child, a spouse or an elderly parent, it’s tough. Most of your time will be taken up with caring for the needs of another, and although you’re happy to be doing this for them, it can be draining emotionally and physically. Because caring for another person is so hard, it’s important that you take care of yourself too. After all, if you aren’t healthy, how can you carry out your caring duties?
Here are some of the things that other carers have found useful for looking after themselves:
Relieve Stress
Stress is probably the most common problem experienced by caregivers, so it is absolutely vital that you do what you can to de-stress after a tough day looking after a loved one. Many carers have found that activities like yoga, meditation and Tai Chi are particularly helpful, but if you like reading books, playing chess, knitting or socializing with friends more, they will serve you just as well.
Maintain Your Other Relationships
As a caring person, it’s only natural that you will want to dedicate the bulk of your time to the person you are caring for, and in fact, it might be necessary to do so, but you should also take the time to maintain your other relationships with friends and family. Many carers become isolated because they don’t do this and this can lead to them feeling trapped and lonely. If you want to avoid this, schedule regular appointments with friend and family who will listen, laugh and have fun with you. If necessary, you can hire a professional nurse or carer from a company like spectrum healthcare to take over your duties for a little while, so that you can get out and be sociable with friends, let your hair down and feel more like yourself again.
Maintain a Healthy Body
When most of your day is taken up with caring tasks, it’s only natural that you would want to put your feet up and relax with a cup of coffee and a few cookies whenever you get a spare moment, but it’s vital that you schedule some time for exercise and cooking a healthy meal each and every day.
Caregiving can be tough, physical work, so you need to keep your body healthy if you are to get through the day free from aches, pains, and exhaustion. Eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising for 30 minutes a day, even if it’s just going for a walk, will help you with this.
Do Something That Makes You Happy
Remember that you are not just a career – you are a human being with needs and interests in your own right, and this means that you deserve to be happy. Make time to do the things you love, whether that’s listening to loud rock music, hiking or doing a simple jigsaw puzzle. Whatever they might be and you’ll be better able to cope with the stresses and strains of caring.
Are you a caregiver? What do you do to ensure that you take care of yourself each day?

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