Self-care is defined as the act of putting yourself first and taking the time to do things for yourself. Self-care is important because it allows an individual to rest, relax or do things for themselves that they would not normally do. Self-care can be in the form of many things, including napping, getting a massage, taking the day to lounge and relax or simply running errands that you normally do not have time to do. Self-care is imperative when it comes to an individuals mental and emotional health, especially for family caregivers!
How Does Self-Care Help Family Caregivers?
If you are a family caregiver, you are probably working tirelessly to make sure that your family and patient are equally happy and healthy. Balancing being a family or primary caregiver and attending to your daily duties as a parent, wife, husband, son, daughter, etc. can be challenging. Balance is something that caregivers both need and struggle to find, as their heart and soul is being poured into their work. As a family caregiver, it is important to know when you are experiencing caregiver burn out or fatigue and when you need a break. When you recognize that you need help, it is important to seek the help of your friends and family, as well as respite care providers that can step in for you in your absence.
Practicing self-care can help a familial or primary caregiver have a happy heart, soul and mind during chaotic times. When you take the time to take care of yourself, you can come back to your duties as a caregiver feeling refreshed, renewed and ready to accomplish all of your caregiving tasks. Self-care does not have to mean that you remove yourself completely from your caregiving duties for a period of time, but rather can be daily tasks you accomplish to put yourself first. Self-care activities include, but is not limited to:
- Taking a short vacation
- Going for a manicure or pedicure
- Booking a massage
- Taking the day to simply stay in bed and lounge
- Taking a much-needed nap or rest
- Going to appointments or running errands that you do not have time for normally.
- Feeding your spiritual self
- Hiring a respite care provider to simply take a break
Respite care could be the perfect solution for you and your loved ones if you are looking to experience a longer break from caregiver duties. A respite care provide can give in home caregivers the relief that he or she needs to bounce back from the caregiver stress and burnout that they are feeling. Self-care can come in many forms and timeframes, from taking 5 minutes to take a deep breath to taking a week to go on a vacation to get your mind in a healthy and happy place.
We encourage all people, especially family and primary caregivers, to take the time to practice self-care. As a caregiver, it is imperative that you feel rested, rejuvenated and ready to take on the challenges that presents itself during your day. We hope that you will take the time to put yourself and your mental, physical and emotional health first!