Caring for the Caregiver
We often think about how we can do best to help loved ones in our care. So many would do anything to help their loved ones feel better, feel comfortable, and have everything they could possibly need. In some ways it makes us feel better knowing we are doing everything in our power to care for the ones we love. Something caregivers often don’t consider is the toll this all takes on themselves. This toll is often not minded or viewed as a burden. However, caring for a caregiver is something to be considered.
When we don’t care for ourselves, we aren’t the best at providing care. This is true for new moms, people caring for a sick spouse or loved one, and even healthcare professionals. When we are tired and under a lot of stress, it can become very difficult to provide the best care for those we are responsible to care for. When we are in these stressful times, it can be difficult to process our emotions and deal with the stress we are under.
Self-care is very important when being a caregiver. Self-care starts with knowing yourself. What kinds of things make you feel good? What kinds of things help you relax? What things trigger your stress or anxiety level? Examples to help relax may include watching with a favorite television show, talking to a friend who calms you down, talking with a therapist, cooking, cleaning, sleeping, taking a hot bath, drinking hot tea, treating yourself to getting your hair or nails done, or even spending time with the person you are caring for but not talking about the illness. Triggers may include multiple sleepless nights on end, keeping up with household chores, hormonal changes, focusing on illness and negative aspects of caring for someone too much of the day, or pressure you put on yourself to get everything done perfectly. Spend a little time reflecting on your needs and triggers. Then take the insight you’ve gained and make a conscience effort to do the things you need and put the triggers in moderation.
Often people struggle to accept help from those around them. Society puts a lot of pressure on us to be perfect, maintain a clean house, take care of ourselves, eat healthy, and get everything done. Give yourself a break. You don’t have to do it all. Your house can get messy and it won’t hurt anyone. Those who care about you want to help. Let them. Those who care won’t judge you. Do what you need to do to survive and take care of your necessities.