Caring for an ill or disabled family member comes with a variety of self-care challenges for stressed-out and time-crunched carers, who often put the needs of their loved ones ahead of their own mental and physical health
According to the 2017 Embracing Carers® global survey, 42% of unpaid carers put the health of the person they’re caring for above themselves.
Do you feel there is never enough time for you to manage all your responsibilities at work and at home? Here are some ideas on bringing the focus back on you and your own wellbeing.
First and foremost: Don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself!
Your mental and physical health is important not only for the loves ones you care for but especially yourself. You can be a better carer when you feel healthy and powerful. Every carer needs their own personal time to rest and recharge.
Make sure you set aside some time for yourself each day to relax, reflect, and recharge, so you can be at your best for the people who rely on you each day.
More importantly, don’t feel guilty when you take some time for yourself! “My resolutions for the new year are to worry less and say goodbye to guilt,” says Embracing Carers® Ambassador Denise Brown. “Carrying around those negative feelings uses up precious time and energy that I could be using to care for my family, my network of fellow caregivers, and myself!”
Mind and body go hand in hand
Mental and physical health is a key pillar in getting the thing done that you do every day!
Try to go to a gym once a week to create a space where caring for yourself is center front. If it is hard to find the time, consider a ten minute yoga routine on your smartphone or meditate with your headphones on while sitting in the doctors waiting room.
Don’t underestimate fresh air! You don’t need to run a marathon, but take that short walk to the postbox to get a few minutes of fresh air.
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Detox your socials
While sitting in the doctors waiting room we often scroll through the socials to kill some time. And while these picture perfect living room “snapshots” are clearly staged with hours of preparation for that one picture (I mean come on, no one is really putting a cup of tea on their bed next to an open antique book and a slice of orange). We tend to compare ourselves to others which can lead to feelings of inadequacy.
But social media can be a great place for resources, other people with similar stories and inspirations we sometimes need.
Next time you go through your socials think about how these posts really make you feel. And if they are not comforting you, supporting you or adding value to your life – unfollow them.
Use your feed as a safe space and be happy and free in it. And yes, we all have that one friend we can’t unfollow, but here’s a simple solution: Mute. All social media feeds feature the mute option for both posts and stories.
Ask for help when you need it
This is a tough one. Asking for help can be hard and may make you feel like you are “failing.” Taking help is not a weakness it’s a strength.
“Admitting that we need help as caregivers can be hard, because we don’t want to feel like we’re in over our heads,” says Embracing Carers® Ambassador Jon Strum. “But trying to do it all yourself will quickly lead to burnout. If i could offer one piece of advice for caregivers in the new year, it would be this: learn how to ask for the help you need, and learn how to be comfortable with accepting it.”
GL-NONPR-00339 [September 2022]