How To Be A Good Caregiver While Practicing Self-Care
At some point in our lives, we will assume the role of caregiver to a loved one in our lives. You can be a loving caregiver and still practice the self-care you deserve.
More so, an important question to ask yourself is, are you practicing the self-care you rightfully deserve? If not, it’s time to step back for some self-reflection. As you know, care-giving takes a lot of work. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting and can leave you feeling depleted.
In this article, we will discuss some positive ways you can practice self-care and still remain a loving caregiver.
Caregiving – A Community Spirit
Fortunately, the 21st Century fosters a community spirit of loving energy that allows us to maintain a loving caregiver mentality. As a community, we recognize the value of other’s needs before our own. At the same time, we often forget to practice the self-care we desperately so desire.
However, due to the current pandemic, we had to reevaluate this need to put others before ourselves. We started realizing self-care was necessary so we could, in turn, take care of others.
With these events unfolding, feelings like guilt can continue to prevent us from proper self-care. As caregiver roles resume once again, we must remember to find ways to practice self-care as well.
The Importance Of Setting Boundaries
Did you know family caregivers now encompass more than one in five Americans? Additionally, the number of family caregivers in the USA increased to 9.5 million from 2015 to 2020. This same study reveals caregivers health continues to decline compared to five years ago.
As a caregiver, you are acutely aware setting boundaries always presents challenges. Whatever your role as a caregiver, there is a fine line between your professional and home life.
Therefore, you must set boundaries for yourself as a caregiver. Below, you’ll discover some ways you can achieve them.
- Learn how to say no and mean it. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person or caregiver. Learning how to set boundaries is essential for self-care. If you don’t set them, your limits will continually push back. Remember, you don’t need to explain why you say no, just stand your ground.
- Spend your time and energy, focusing on your needs. With so many hours in the day, you need to prioritize your time wisely. Never let the expectations of others weigh you down. Find things that bring you joy and never feel guilty about the self-care you deserve.
- Guilt – This emotion is one of the biggest roadblocks for caregivers. While we don’t want to push away feelings and emotions, guilt is never productive. That’s why you need to say no and stand your ground. This way, you’ll have less sense of guilt in the first place and no overpromise.
- Never lose who you are in the process of caregiving. Self-care is not selfish. Remain true to who you are as a person and always remember the key reasons why you chose caregiving in the first place. In fact, make sure you exercise, go for long peaceful walks, wear makeup, do your hair, and make sure you plan friend time!
- Always reach out to others if you feel the need. Caregiving can tap into all of your reserve energy. Asking for help means you know how important self-care is, and you love and respect yourself.
Remember, Family Always Comes First
For so many, caregiving is not a professional role but a personal one. Maybe you take care of elderly parents or other relatives. Either way, we must remember our immediate family must come first. Often, the needs of our children take a back seat while we care for our aged parents.
More importantly, if caregiving means neglecting your own family, maybe it’s time to consider nursing facilities that will allow your loved ones round the clock care. At the same time, you can take care of your family as well as yourself while still ensuring excellent care for your loved ones.
With professional care, your state of mind will improve, and your family’s needs will always come first and foremost. That’s why it’s essential to evaluate your family’s needs and balance them with the needs of your parents.
It’s a good idea to ask yourself some key questions before determining nursing care. For example, are you finding it challenging to continue hands-on care? And, do you feel emotionally drained and exhausted? Are you neglecting your family while caregiving? More so, do your loved ones require special care or rehabilitation you can’t provide?
Self-Awareness Is Self Love As Caregiver
Self-awareness is crucial when caregiving. Tuning into your mind and body come naturally to most of us but less often when taking care of others. We tend to think about other’s wants and needs and often forget our own.
As a caregiver, it isn’t easy shifting the focus back to yourself. Yet, to thrive, we must use self-awareness to empower ourselves. Your self-care can feel selfish and self-centered. We all know the story about the oxygen mask on a plane, right? You put one on first to take care of others. The same goes for caregivers.
Therefore, listen to your body and put yourself first from time to time. It will not do anyone any good if you ignore your needs and wants. As a caregiver, it’s not healthy to continually feel a state of crisis mode. It’s as if we are waiting for the next shoe to drop! More so, you need to find a healthy way to break the cycle of constant urgency and find peace and joy in our lives.
Caregivers often feel rushed and pressured. These emotions and feelings can make you physically ill. That’s why it’s critical you use self-awareness to find the balance between work, responsibility, and self-care.
In closing, manage your time with yourself in mind. Remember to prioritize, don’t stress, do what you can, simplify and combine your efforts, and know you are doing your best.
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