As a family caregiver, you are focused on the care of others. And often the one person you forget to take care of is yourself. We all know how important it is for you to stay healthy, fit and rested in order to be at your best.
Caring for another is a rewarding personal experience, especially if it’s one of your own family members. But at the same time, factors like exhaustion, worry, inadequate resources, and continuous care demands can be enormously stressful.
It is important that family caregiver takes time for themselves. Here are a few simple ways to get started.
Get Over the Guilt: Wanting and needing time away from caregiving responsibilities can cause feelings of guilt. As the primary caregiver, you need to recognize your feelings and then forgive yourself. Try to let it go. Unwarranted guilt truly serves no one.
Spread the Love: Focus on the most important things that you need to get done as the family caregiver and then delegate the rest. Caregiving for a family loved one should include other family members, if possible. Schedule others to help with meal planning and preparation, housecleaning, errands and transportation to and from doctor appointments, or ask them to lead the caregiving efforts for an entire day so that you can take time for yourself.
Schedule Time for You: Find a few hours each week so that you schedule something for just you. This is your time to get out with friends, run personal errands or schedule appointments, go to the movies, take a walk outside, get a massage, or just take a nap. Let family and friends know the times you’re allocating for you and have them fill in.
Stay Active and Eat Healthy: You and the loved one in your care need to eat right and get plenty of indoor or outdoor exercise. Plan and prepare healthy meal choices that you can freeze and enjoy throughout the week. (Check out our Easy Meals for Family Caregivers board on Pinterest for recipe inspiration). Find time each day to do some form of exercise – walk around the block, or your local mall, or take an exercise class at the senior center. Whatever it is you do, make it some type of physical activity that you both can do together.
Hire Help: Consider respite care. A professional caregiver can temporarily step in while you step out. At FirstLight Home Care, our extraordinary caregivers embrace each day with values of trust, honesty, respect, integrity, and dedication. They treat your parent, grandparent or other loved one just as you would so that you can rest assured they are safe, comfortable and cared for – whether it’s for a few hours a day, a long weekend or during your vacation.
What other suggestions would you give a family caregiver on simple ways they can take time for themselves without feeling guilty? Comment here on this post and keep the conversation going.
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We are proud to CHAMPION the family caregiver, offering empathy, advice, and support for those who provide countless hours of care to their loved ones. We want to provide a helping hand, relieve some of the stress that comes with caregiving and give you back a few hours in your overwhelmingly busy day.