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As a caregiver, I know first-hand how caring for another person can be exhausting. It has been a struggle for me to give myself proper time and care. Bradley Davis has agreed to write a blog to offer tips to this blog’s audience on self-care. I have found these to be very helpful and practical to apply and hope these tips will be helpful to you, as well. Remember to follow the links within this article for more practical self-care tips, and as always — please share this blog with others!

Self-care is extremely important for our mental and physical health, but it can be difficult to stay on top of, especially when you have a busy schedule or when your family members rely on you for their needs. As Dr. Marlynn Wei of Harvard Health explains that when you’re a caregiver it can be doubly hard to take care of yourself. You may feel pressed for time, too tired to bother with your own needs, or even guilty for wanting to provide for yourself when your patient relies on you. Whether you take care of a loved one or are giving care to someone as part of your job, Amanda Kohr further explained in “10 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care” that it’s crucial to make your own needs a priority in order to recharge.

It doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be a stressful process; there are many things you can do to care for yourself no matter how busy your schedule is. They can be big or small depending on where you are. asserts that you should think of some ways to reduce stress and feel better that can be adapted to your specific schedule. For instance, if you stay at your patient’s home overnight, it might be helpful to learn how to meditate. The wonderful thing about meditation is that, once you get the hang of it, you can do it just about anywhere that’s quiet and has no distractions.

Read on for some more great tips on how to introduce self-care into your daily routine.

Make your bedroom a haven

Sleep is a major part of the body and mind’s ability to function well, and that impacts everything from your mood to your stress levels. When you don’t get enough of it–or when the quality of your sleep is lacking–you may find yourself feeling irritable or unable to do all the things you need to take care of in a day. Turning your bedroom into a haven of comfort will help you get the rest your body and mind desperately need, claims HomeAdvisor, so think about soft, blackout curtains or blinds, and removing technology, which will allow you to shut down your brain properly at the end of the day. Micle Mihai-Cristian, Founder of Freshome, suggests a coat of calming blue on the walls will help create a sense of relaxation.

Learn how to relax anywhere

Headspace insists that one of the best ways to relax is by meditating, which allows you to focus your thoughts and energy rather than letting negativity, stress, and anxiety control how you feel. When you’ve had a trying day, find a quiet place to sit and focus on your breathing. Think specifically about relaxing each of your limbs, one at a time, until you feel the stress draining from you. This technique is wonderful for caregivers who need to practice self-care when they aren’t at home.

Fit in exercise

Caregiving can be a very physically demanding job, requiring strenuous lifting at times that can strain your back and joints. That’s why it’s imperative to be in good shape, so look for a workout that can be done on your own terms and that isn’t too physically demanding. Mayo Clinic’s Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D, asserts that yoga is an excellent option for caregivers since it can be done just about anywhere and can incorporate meditation techniques. You can pack a rolled-up yoga mat in your car,  bring it with you to your patient’s home, and fit in stretches and poses in fifteen or twenty-minute increments as you find the time. And as suggests – finding the time might be the hard part, but it’s worth it.

Let go of the guilt

Often, one of the most difficult parts of caregiving is pushing away the guilt that can come with making your own health a priority. Caregiver Space’s Bobbi Carducci notes that a good way to face this guilt and rid yourself of it is to think of your health as an integral part of your job. Think about it this way: if you aren’t feeling well, or if your physical or mental health declines, there is no way you can help your patient or loved one the way they need to be helped.

Self-care isn’t always easy to practice, but with a bit of planning, you can make sure your mind, body, and soul are well taken care of no matter how busy your day is. Doing so will help ensure that both you and your loved one are in good health for years to come.

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