Caregiving is about sacrifice, definitely, but that doesn’t mean that you have to run yourself into the ground to be a better caregiver. If you’re not taking care of yourself, then caring for anyone else is going to be far more difficult than it has to be.
Get Help When You Need It
You don’t get any extra points because you’re trying to do everything yourself as a family caregiver. You might feel as if you’re really succeeding because you’re getting a million tasks done every day. But the reality is that you can only do so much yourself for so long. Learn to ask for the help that you need.
Schedule Breaks into Every Day
This is not meant to be a sprint that lasts forever. Caregiving requires that you pace yourself in order to do your best. Take at least a few minutes every day just for you. Don’t forget to schedule longer breaks into every single week, too.
Renew Your Social Life
It’s all too easy as a caregiver to lose touch with your friends and other people that you care about. Make it a point to spend part of your time away from caregiving renewing your relationships. This can help you to recharge yourself much more quickly than you might think.
Exercise and Eat Well
Moving a little bit each day may seem like no big deal, but it can help you on so many levels. Talk to your doctor about the best kinds of exercise for you and don’t try to overdo it. Simply move a little bit each day. As you make movement a bigger priority, your body will start to crave better, healthier foods. Take a look at what you’re eating and whether you can swap out healthier options.
Periodically Review Your Self-Care Plan
If you’re not focused on making self-care a priority for you, you’re going to find that you slip into bad habits again really easily. Take the time at least a couple of times a month to look at how you’re doing with your own self-care plan and see what you can do to make sure you’re taking great care of both you and your senior.
Keeping yourself strong as a caregiver means that you’re focused on what you can do for both yourself and your care recipient.