Being the caregiver for someone with a chronic illness is exhausting even if that person is someone near & dear to your heart. These 5 tips are a good way to check in to make sure that you are caring for yourself despite the challenges in your life.
Do something you enjoy on a schedule.
Whether it’s a bi-monthly pedicure or a monthly book club, you should have something on the calendar that’s absolutely for your pleasure. It doesn’t have to be something expensive or time-consuming, but when you are taking care of another person, setting aside a bit of time for yourself is vital to ensure that you can survive a long-term caregiving situation. At the very least, set aside 10 minutes a day for yourself. Take this time to breathe deeply and focus on yourself. Then put your self-care plans on your calendar and PROTECT them. Taking care of yourself is important to make sure you’re at your caregiving best!
Ask friends & family to give you breaks.
When people say they’ll help, take them up on it! Asking friends and family to help out for an hour or more at a time can help alleviate the stressors from caregiving. When someone has advanced cancer, an hour may be a wonderful break. For others, an afternoon to care for a child with Down Syndrome may be appropriate. Either way, don’t be afraid to take friends & family up on their offers to help.
Pay attention to your own health.
You don’t have to run marathons, but current recommendations suggest getting at least 30 minutes of activities more days than not. When you’re caregiving, activity is vitally important. Have an activity schedule and stick to it! Also, work on making sure that you’re eating as well as possible by having some fruits & veggies in your diet. Being healthy will help you to be the healthiest caregiver you can be.
Make a list of help you need.
Sometimes it’s tough to remember what help you need when you’re in the throes of caregiving. Make a list of what you need as you go so that when people say they can help, you can pull out your list to ask people to assist as needed.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.