It’s a misconception that being a caregiver means that you have to neglect yourself and your own well-being in the process. You can absolutely be a caregiver and take great care of yourself while you’re at it. In fact, you need to master that art.
You Need a Plan
Self-care is something that can happen randomly, but when you’re a caregiver you need to have an actual plan. If you don’t make a plan, it’s going to be that much easier for you to brush your needs aside and to focus on everything else that’s going on. The first step in ironing out your self-care plan might be figuring out why you’re resisting having a plan in place.
Determine Why You’re Avoiding Self-care
One big reason that caregivers avoid self-care is that they don’t want other people to think that they’re being selfish. What other people think can be a huge motivation, but it’s not necessarily a healthy one for you. You might also worry that taking time away for yourself means that something bad is going to happen when you’re not there. Whatever your reasons are, you need to get close to them so you can understand them.
Self-care Keeps You from Facing Crises
In reality, self-care can keep you from facing those crises that you’re so worried about. Leaving elder care providers in charge, in your place, means that your senior is in good hands. Also, don’t minimize the impact of being fully recharged. When you’re on top of your game, you can handle just about anything that life or caregiving throws your way.
Make a List and Give it a Try
When you’re ready to take action, start making a list of all the ways you can take better care of yourself on a daily basis. Include things like eating at regular intervals, choosing healthy food options, and getting enough sleep. You don’t have to put your entire plan into motion all at once, because that can be overwhelming. Start out with a few of the most important self-care tasks and add one or two as you go.
As you experience more of the benefits that self-care can bring to your responsibilities as a caregiver, it’s much easier to make them work together both for you and for your senior. What you learn about self-care now can help you in other areas of your life, too, since self-care is a need that never goes away.