The World Health Organization dubs June 24th to July 24th as Self-Care Month to promote awareness of the importance of caring for yourself. For family caregivers, this can be challenging. However, as the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Most caregivers juggle numerous responsibilities and obligations that create stress, burnout, and even physical ailments. Although these side effects might be the result of selflessness, you need to keep in mind that your loved ones can’t receive the proper care if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Self-care isn’t a luxury that you should feel guilty about prioritizing. It’s a necessity. As a caregiver, it’s naturally difficult to shift your focus to yourself, but you deserve the opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate. Here are some ways you can focus on self-care.
Start by blocking out some “me time” in your daily routine. Schedule some time for the activities that you enjoy and allow yourself to relax and have fun.
Utilize Your Network
If a friend or family member offers to help with something, don’t just see it as a courtesy. Take them up on their offer and use these people as sources of support. Even if it just means having someone to vent to after a long day, interacting with and relying on others can be therapeutic and help reduce some of your stress.
Develop Healthy Habits
We aren’t here to tell you to design yourself a rigorous fitness routine but rather to do what makes you physically feel good. Get regular exercise, eat nutritious meals to keep yourself fueled throughout the day, and try to get the sleep you need. Not only will these things make you feel better mentally, but they can give you the strength to help with the physical needs that come along with your caregiving responsibilities.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, learn to say NO. Caregivers are hardwired to put others before themselves but there sometimes needs to be a line in the sand. It’s okay to say no or delegate when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed and to shift the focus back to you.
Relying on Respite Care
When you reach the point where you believe you’re feeling overwhelmed or nearing burnout, there are plenty of options available for you to receive temporary relief while also ensuring your loved one still receives the care they need. The most valuable of these options is respite care.
Respite care is an invaluable resource that can help you to find some breathing room, and it can also provide some of the benefits below.
Respite care provides family caregivers with freedom. This freedom is seen in having the time to engage in self-care activities whilst knowing your loved one is in capable hands. This is the easiest way to find yourself some more “me time” that we mentioned earlier.
Peace of Mind
Professional caregivers have the know-how and the emotional capacity to provide the best possible care that you know your loved one deserves. With the help of these services, you don’t need to second-guess your caregiving practices, and you can confidently step back without feeling guilty.
Strengthen Your Relationships
Bringing in respite caregivers can also allow you to go back to being a friend or family member to your loved one. Instead of constantly worrying about your loved one’s needs, you can enjoy quality time and be the friend they’ve probably been missing.
We strongly encourage family caregivers to take a step back and prioritize themselves this Self-Care Month. Remember, putting yourself first isn’t selfish; it’s necessary to be the best caregiver you can be. Use the resources available to you such as respite care and take this month as an opportunity to get back on your feet and reset your burnout clock.
You can inquire further about local SYNERGY HomeCare respite options here. For further consultation, you can call SYNERGY HomeCare at 877-432-2692.
For more information, download our Family Caregiver Ultimate Guide.