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senior man in wheelchair with caregiver daughter.

Self-Care for Caregivers: Giving Family Caregivers the Emotional Support They Need

40% of caregivers are in high-burden situations, meaning that they are spending several hours of their time every week caring for another person. This kind of stress can be unbearable, especially if the caregiver doesn’t take time for themselves.

If you’re a caregiver, you need to take time for yourself. However, we understand that finding time for yourself can be difficult.

Self-care for caregivers is essential. To learn how to practice self-care as a caregiver, keep reading. We have everything you need to understand how you can care for yourself while caring for someone else.

You Need To Get Sleep

Everyone needs sleep, even you. As a caregiver, you probably don’t get enough sleep.

If you allocate your time throughout the day properly, you can sleep great at night. If you start getting enough sleep at night, you’ll notice several benefits from your time sleeping.

Whether you use the time that you should be sleeping to catch up on your day or complete tasks like cleaning, you need to do some rearranging. You may want to consider a few different ways to address your time during the day.

Make a Schedule

Believe it or not, many people go without a calendar for their everyday lives. This may be okay with people who don’t have a lot of events, but it is unrealistic for caregivers.

If you’re a caregiver, you need to have some sort of calendar or planner. You should at least have a running to-do list.

You’ll find that you’ll have a more concise way of spending your day. You’ll know exactly what you need to do.

Use Idle Time

If you have multiple things going on at once, you need to take advantage of idle time. Idle time is time that you’re not using to the best of you’re ability.

For example, idle time exists while you’re driving. You can also use this time to listen to music, listen to a podcast, call a friend, or just take a breath.

If you take advantage of idle time, you can get multiple things done at once.

You can watch television and do taxes. You can eat and listen to a podcast. You can go on a walk and make a call.

Obviously, you should always be careful when you’re multitasking, but you may find that you can complete things simultaneously as long as they don’t involve too much brainpower.

Set Boundaries and Follow Them

One of the biggest problems that caregivers have is the inability to set boundaries. If you’re a caregiver you need to understand when to say no, even if it is to the person you’re caring for.

Of course, you should care adequately for whomever you care for. However, you need to create boundaries around what you’re comfortable doing for others.

These boundaries could also apply to your friends and family. You may be promising meetups and phone calls when you can’t.

You have to be consistent with the boundaries that you do set as well. You might have a set time when you work and leave the rest to sleep and friends.

If you’re having trouble setting boundaries as a caregiver, you should understand that you have options. You could hire a caregiving service to take over tasks that you aren’t comfortable doing. You could also hire them to take over caregiving services completely.

When it comes to setting boundaries, you have to choose what you’re comfortable with. No two people have the same exact set of boundaries. Find where your line is and communicate these boundaries to others.

Manage Stress

If you’re a caregiver, you’re bound to have some stress from time to time. You need to be able to control your stress so that you don’t spiral out of control.

There are many steps that you can take while you’re learning (and practicing) how to manage your stress:

  1. You need to recognize when you’re becoming stressed out. You may find that you’re irritable, forgetful, or having trouble sleeping.
  2. You need to recognize what is causing you to feel stressed. Who or what is causing you to feel agitated?
  3. Understand the things that you can control and the things that you can’t control. You can try to change the variables that you can control, but you have to recognize that you will not have complete control over any and all situations.
  4. Now, it is time to take actionable steps to manage the stress that you’re experiencing. If you’re being stressed out by something you can control, here is where you need to make the necessary changes. If you’re being stressed out by something you can’t control, you need to learn to let go and release your stress.

If you can release your stress, you will feel so much better and find that your days will run more smoothly.

Setting Goals For Yourself

Many caregivers get lost in the mentality that they exist only to care for someone else. This line of thinking can come with a lot of resentment, anger, and stress.

Everyone wants to have a life outside of their caregiver role. Therefore, you should make sure to set goals for yourself so that you can live your life to the fullest.

Make sure that you’re setting goals for everything you want to accomplish outside of your caregiver role and give yourself permission to follow those goals and dreams.

If you don’t look after yourself while you’re looking after someone else, you’ll lose yourself. Setting goals is the perfect way to manage your life outside of caregiving and ensure that you’re still doing what you want to do.

Following Self-Care for Caregivers and Asking for Help

Every caregiver needs help from time to time, even you. You can do all of the self-care in the world, but a nice lending hand is always appreciated.

Self-care for caregivers is essential. However, self-care also includes stepping back and taking a break. While you’re taking this break, we imagine that the person you care for still needs help.

If you need a break from time to time or indefinitely consider hiring Family Always First Home Care. You can contact us with any questions you may have pertaining to our services.