Everyone talks about mental health and how we can do better for ourselves, but there is not enough of a focus on the mental health of carers. Looking after someone else, whether as a parent or in a caring capacity, is hard. To give your time and your concentration to your job, your house, the person or children you care for, it’s all a little much. There is never any time to give yourself a moment to breathe. Self-care for caregivers isn’t just something that’s nice to have, it’s a necessity if you don’t want to burn out. If you don’t give yourself adequate care, you’re going to burn out and this leads to depression and isolation – two things that you really don’t want to have to deal with if possible!
There is plenty of research out there to show that people who give too much of themselves to others have nothing left, and whether you believe it or not, you’re going to have to look after yourself or you won’t have the ability to look after someone else. There is only so much that you can give to other people before it all becomes too much. You have to feel strong enough to be able to balance looking after yourself with looking after the person you have been all this time. Taking care of yourself is a must if you want to feel able to look after someone who needs you more. But how do you do that? Below, we’ve got five specific ways that you can start making sure that you take the best possible care of yourself.
5 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself
- Get The Family Together. Whether you are caring for a younger relative or an older one, you need a village to help. Some people use the services of companies like Visiting Angels to help with in-home care, but getting the family together will help you to offload some of the difficulties with those who know what you need. Caring for someone else is a wonderful thing to do but it doesn’t mean that you don’t need support. Family support will keep the person in question calm and you can all take shifts so that you’re not the sole carer of your relative or parent who needs support. If they can’t physically help with care, they may be able to help with the finances and could deal with managing appointments and insurance. You don’t always need physical support: sometimes, it’s helpful to let go of the mental load and let someone else take over.
- Lean On Friends. As well as calling in the family, you need to lean on your friends. Being a carer for someone that you love is heartbreaking for some people, and you can lean on them as your support system to help you through the emotional and mental difficulties. If you don’t want to lean on your friends – some don’t – then finding a local support group could go a long way to helping you to learn that you should have a break from time to time. Most of the time, carers believe that they shouldn’t have a rest – they have things to do and people to see, and they feel guilty for doing anything for themselves.
- Practice Healthy Behavior. Eating well, moving enough, and sleeping properly are all important in life. As a person caring for another, however, it’s all the more important than ever before. You cannot pour from an empty cup, so you must ensure that your cup is full so that you can give enough energy to another. Take naps, move more and just ensure that you are on top of your own health.
- Take Breaks. Recharging your brain with breaks from being a carer is important, and we don’t mean going to work for a break: we mean a coffee with a friend, reading a book, going for a spa day, etc. Distractions are a must!
- Use All Resources. Your doctor’s office, local health organizations, and even your local charities are all excellent resources that can help you with your caring at home.
If you want to ensure that the person you are caring for is healthy and happy, then the important thing to do is to maintain your health as much as possible. When you do this, you have all of the tools that you need to be an effective and enthusiastic carer. You need these qualities to handle the pressure and the emotional stress of caring for other people.