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Care for Yourself While Caring for Others

Caregivers are most effective and helpful when they are well rested and in a positive frame of mind.

This, of course, is easier said than done. Taking time for you can create feelings of guilt or selfishness. These conflicting demands can lead to feelings of anxiety, frustration, and resentment.

You became a caregiver out of love and concern for others. It’s perfectly natural for you to place the needs of your patient ahead of your own.

It is easy for caregivers, like yourself, to become so focused on tending their patient that they neglect to care for themselves. Caregivers play a key role in taking care of the physical and emotional well-being of the patient, and it is crucial that they also take care of themselves during this time. Find other caregiver tips here.

Take Care of Your Body and Mind – Be your best so you can do your best

  • Find time to exercise, even just a quick 30-minute walk.
  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Find social time to enjoy your friends.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Maintain some balance between your life as a caregiver and your normal life.
  • Make sure you take care of your own health – especially if you feel sick.
  • Rely on your sense of humor.
  • Seek spiritual renewal.

Find Support – Don’t do it alone

  • Know it is ok to ask for help and seek professional help, if needed.
  • Find a support group.
  • Continue to see your friends and family.
  • Accept assistance – let family and friends help cook, clean, shop, or spend the day with the patient.
  • Look for areas where you need help and allow family and friends to tell you what they think they can do.
  • Take time away from caregiving, respite care can offer assistance to allow time away.
  • Build a caregiving team.
  • Know your limits. Let go.

Cope With Your Feelings – It is ok to feel a range of emotions

  • Watch out for feelings of depression.
  • Think positively.
  • Search for acceptance.
  • Connect with others.
  • Keep your sense of humor.