Before you take care of anyone else, you have to take care of yourself. This is something that is easier said than done. With all of the stress that comes along with a to-do list, a family members ailing health, and everything else in life… it’s no surprise that forgetting about “me” is easy. Remind yourself not to forget.
Being a caregiver is busy, stressful, hard work. For those reasons, it could even cause more health issues for yourself than the actual person you are caring for! Some caregivers don’t get enough sleep, push themselves too hard when they’re not feeling well, and even miss their own doctor’s appointments to make someone else’s.
So what should you do if you are a caregiver who isn’t getting enough “me” time?
Care for yourself. Remember, most of the time you are not in control of what happens to someone else, but you are in control of your own health right now… so pay attention to it and know you are not being selfish. It’s something you have to do not only for yourself, but the person you are caring for as well.
Be positive… about yourself and the life you are living. Having a positive attitude will impact both your life and the life of your loved one when you do this. Know you are wanted and needed… and are doing the best you can, on that day… at that time. When you feel down, remind yourself of this.
Take baby steps. You can’t reduce all your personal stress in one day, but you can do small things that will make a difference over time. It also helps to have a few goals in mind. They can be big or small and can be daily goals, monthly goals, or even “end of the year” goals. You want to have something to work toward to motivate you to take those baby steps.
Ask for help. If you need it, don’t be afraid to communicate what you are feeling and what you want or need. Just because you are helping someone doesn’t mean you can’t be helped either. There is no shame in that.
One way you can ask for help is to turn to SYNERGY HomeCare’s respite services. Caregivers can help you with caring for your elderly loved one so you can take care of yourself.