The most important job for a caregiver will always be providing self-care. Attending to your whole person – emotional, physical, social and spiritual – may be challenging and overwhelming when there seems to be little time available. But when a caregiver ignores his or her needs, there is a significant risk of developing health problems, resulting in the inability to provide care.
November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to honor family caregivers across the country. This year’s theme is “Caregiving Around the Clock,” recognizing the challenges that family caregivers face and how they manage them day and night. Check out the following self-care tips for maintaining health and happiness as a caregiver:
- Be aware of feelings that may arise, such as depression or anxiety.
- Talk with someone you trust about your feelings as you experience them.
- Journal about your feelings and the challenges you face each day.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Talk with other caregivers who may be in a similar situation.
- Educate yourself on caregiving through books or via the internet.
- Talk to the physician of the person for whom you are providing care to better understand his/her needs.
- Talk to a mental health professional and/or join a caregiver support group.
- Make time to relax, even if it’s only for short periods at a time.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat proper meals daily.
- Eat healthy snacks.
- Get plenty of uninterrupted sleep.
- Exercise daily.
- Take a walk with a friend.
- Maintain your health by keeping doctor visits and any medication requirements.
- Engage in hobbies or other activities that you enjoy that are not associated with caregiving.
- Take regular breaks from caregiving.
- Accept invitations to social events.
- Invite a friend over to your house if you are not able to get away.
- Make time to pray, meditate or to just be quiet.
- Attend services at your place of worship.
- Find support from those at your place of worship.
- Reflect on how your caregiver role has changed who you are and made you a better person.
- Reflect on how your role has positively affected your loved one.
For more information about our caregiver programs, please call our Access Center at 1-800-963-3377.