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Self-Care Tips for Family Caregivers: Prioritizing Your Wellbeing

Oftentimes, the stress that comes with being a family caregiver can make it difficult to maintain a positive attitude. Not taking care of yourself physically and mentally can, in turn, make it harder to be a caregiver for your loved one. FirstLight Home Care is always here to offer caregiver support, and one way to uplift caregivers is by reminding them to practice self-care.

Understanding the Importance of Self-Care

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness and increase your energy. Even small acts of self-care in your daily life can have a big impact.” If you aren’t in a position to take care of yourself, how can you expect to be the best caregiver possible for your loved one?

Common Challenges Faced by Family Caregivers

Practicing self-care isn’t always easy. Most people, especially family caregivers, have busy schedules managing the care of a loved one along with the needs of their family, friends and employers. Typically, the caregiver puts themselves last and, when they do take time to focus on their own needs, they tend to feel guilty.

Self-Care Strategies for Family Caregivers

It is important to carve out time for yourself now and then. Here are some ways to get started with your self-care.

Physical Self-Care

Exercise daily. Being active can help you both physically and mentally. Staying active can boost your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and not to mention, help you shed extra weight.

Do something you enjoy every day. Engaging in a hobby has been shown to reduce stress and it can even activate genes that increase immunity and decrease inflammation.

Emotional Self-Care

Ask for help. Big or small, ask family and friends to help you so that you can find time for yourself. FirstLight Home Care is also here to provide the respite care you need.

Keep a gratitude journal. Allocate time (as little as 10 minutes) each day to write down all the things you’re thankful for, or simply use the opportunity to jot down whatever is on your mind. As you write, mentally release those things onto the page to help clear your head.

Mental Self-Care

Unplug for an hour. Go on a media and technology fast, and turn off any unnecessary electronic devices, even if it’s just for an hour a day. Unplug and enjoy the stillness of your space.

Find ways to relax. Start with your breathing. When stressed, breathing is usually flat, short and labored. Our breath goes into our upper chest or shoulders and this type of breathing increases tension. Focus on deeper, slower breaths. In this type of diaphragm breathing, the stomach pushes out as the breath goes in, creating a calming effect.

Social Self-Care

Stay connected to others. Carve out an hour each week to be with someone you enjoy spending time with. If they’re far away, give them a phone call.

Caregiver Support – FirstLight Home Care

If you feel you need more time to focus on your needs and practice self-care, FirstLight Home Care can provide caregiving services for your loved one. Our care professionals give you a temporary break while making sure your family member has the care and support they need. Reach out today to learn more.

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