Meeting care needs for a loved one requires an unlimited reserve of selflessness, patience, compassion, and time. It’s a noble, sometimes unappreciated lifestyle of service that, if unbalanced with self-care, can become draining and result in both physical and emotional harm.
Although the thought of carving out time to take care of yourself can seem unimaginable when the care needs of a loved one are so demanding, it’s crucial in order to be able to provide the highest quality and safest level of care for your loved one.
Step 1: Positive Reinforcement
To begin restoring a healthy balance to your caregiving responsibilities, start each day with positive affirmations, such as:
- I am doing enough
- I give myself permission to care for myself
- I give myself permission to feel good and feel bad
- I will not let my emotions dictate the choices I make
- I will refrain from harsh judgement of myself for letting the past dictate my present
- It’s ok to make mistakes
- I will take one day at a time and not borrow worry from the future
- The decisions I make are the best ones possible given the information and support I have at the time
- I’m making a positive impact on the life of my loved one
Create a card with the above messages that mean the most to you, and place it in a prominent place, such as the bathroom mirror, your desk, or the refrigerator door.
Step 2: Scheduling Time for Yourself
The next step, which can be difficult, is setting aside uninterrupted time each day for activities that bring you enjoyment, relaxation and peace, such as:
- Meditation or prayer
- Working out at the gym or an exercise class
- Soaking in a warm bath
- Taking a long walk – by yourself, with a friend, or a pet
- Journaling, drawing or painting
Step 3: Reaching Out
Finally, it’s extremely helpful and encouraging to connect with other caregivers who can empathize with your situation and with whom you can share a network of support. Trying to manage alone can lead to serious health concerns, such as depression, and exacerbate feelings of guilt and isolation. The following caregiver chat support websites are a good place to start:
- TheCaregiverSpace.org/chat (set up an account or log in to contribute)
When seeking respite caregivers that you can trust and feel comfortable with to care for your loved one during your downtime, call on Heaven at Home Senior Care. Our friendly team of elder care experts are on hand to step in and ensure your loved one is safe and well cared for. We offer socialization activities, personal care services, help with housework, and more—allowing you to take a deep breath, relax and return refreshed and ready to resume your caregiving responsibilities. Call us at (940) 432-5670.