Being a caregiver can feel like a thankless job. It can also cause a lot of stress and even guilt. This is almost always unavoidable, and most unfortunate. But, in order to provide great care, the caregiver needs to take care of themselves, first.
It’s easy for caregivers to forget about themselves, but it’s so important they do things that will make them happy and remove the stress and guilt as best they can.
There are plenty of ways a caregiver can take better care of themselves, so find a few that will work best for you and your situation.
Take Time for You
Providing care for others is a demanding job. It requires a lot of strength both physically and mentally. Besides the daily work, many caregivers also are responsible for their own families and that can lead to burnout.
Taking time for yourself means enjoying what you like to do, but also not being guilted into things you don’t. Prioritize things in your life that need your attention and learn to love saying no to those that don’t.
You Are Not a Superhero
Stay focused on the things you can do and accept those you can’t. You will never be all things to all people so stop trying. Do what you can to the best of your ability and don’t worry about the rest.
There can be a lot of pressure, some real, some imagined. Don’t let it take away from what you are doing. It’s always okay to say and understand your limitations.
If someone is reaching out and offering help, take it. As mentioned, you can’t nor do you need to do everything. You are not going to be any good to yourself or others if you are spread too thin.
Share the workload, the stress, the guilt, the burden. When caring for a family member, make sure everyone pulls their own weight, even if you are the primary caregiver. If they don’t offer, delegate.
You Are Not Alone
As a caregiver, it’s common to feel alone. You spend your days caring for someone, often, with very little back. But, there are plenty of people out there just like you. Talk to them about what is going on.
Reach out to support groups, friends, and other family members to talk about what is going on. No one will fault you for being less than ecstatic over your situation. It helps to hear others’ stories, as they will be very similar to yours.
It’s vital that you keep your mental and physical health in check. Eating right and getting a good night’s sleep is half the battle. Getting some fresh air and exercise will also help.
Do what you can to get a balanced diet and exercise. A brisk walk to the store, a healthy lunch with the person you care for, and taking moments to get out of the stress, even if it’s just a moment.
Reducing Caregiver Guilt
It’s so important that you don’t reach the point of burnout. Ask for help, hire extra help, and consider an alert system for everyone’s peace of mind. Medical Alert can help save lives and bring peace to everyone.
It’s natural to feel guilty, and stress is just a part of all of that. But, there are things that you and your family can do to ease that stress and feel better about the care for your loved ones.