These 5 self-care tips for caregivers can be a start to taking better care of ourselves. In the fast paced living of today’s world, no one has time to focus on self-care. A caregiver says this daily until put in a situation where there is no other choice but to slow down and care for self. Self-care is one of the most neglected areas in the lives of caregivers around the world. We have to understand that in order to give great care, caregivers need to be able to feel great as well. Sometimes it feels selfish, but caregivers have to start reminding ourselves how those we care for will be affected if we are ill or too debilitated to take care of anyone. I am reaching out to all caregivers, not just those in the medical field. Any person that takes care of someone at home or even outside of your home, is a caregiver.
Relaxation is Self-Care
- Take time out for your self without feeling guilty. Do something as simple as stopping at the bookstore to browse through your favorite genre to see whats new. You can also plan a trip to get a manicure, pedicure, or visit your hair stylist. Of course, you have to complete your errand runs, but take the scenic route to get there. Just doing one of these things helps me relieve stress and feel a little more energized.
- Get some rest and make sure you are eating nutritious meals. Caregivers tend to skimp on rest and proper nutrition. We always feel rushed and as if there are not enough hours in the day to complete all that is required of us. But, these two things are essential for us to be at our greatest. We have to strive harder at achieving this goal. If I can’t get in a full 8 hours of sleep then I try to sneak in a power nap during the day. For nutrition, I am working hard at packing healthy snacks to keep with me while running errands, and packing lunch for work days.
3. Make an attempt to get in some exercise. At least 10 minutes of exercise daily will help with decreasing stress and increasing energy. Exercise also helps us to sleep well, strengthen bones and muscles, and improves your mental health and mood. With all of these benefits makes me wonder why this is not always a priority for us.
- Visit your healthcare physician. Make sure you are completing your health care check-ups regularly. Also, ask for referrals to speak with a counselor or psychiatrist if you feel mentally drained. Speaking to a professional about your mental health is part of taking care of self as well. You should report issues to your physician so that any problems can be taken care of. This prevents them from turning into something that keeps you away from caring for those you love.
- Lastly, make sure to use the resources that are available to you. Caregivers in the medical profession are offered self-care information and provided with classes on services offered. There is also the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) that gives so much information on how to care for yourself as well as your patients. There is plenty of helpful information assistance for caregivers that are not in the medical world as well. The National Alliance for Caregiving provides resources and information on everything from finances to benefits that assist with affording medications for your loved ones. Utilize the services of your insurance plans. Most plans offer additional resources to inform the consumer of the help available.
Being a patient advocate is a part of nursing. Use community resources to help educate families and patients on self-care. Give information on things like respite or Adult Day Care Centers. Also, everyone should reach out to your insurance providers to ask what caregiver resources are available. Everyone needs to take better care of self to stay healthy and be able to provide the care to patients and loved ones.