What! You mean a caregiver needs to take care of self?
Say it ain’t so!
As caregivers, men and women, we become lost in our duties with little thought about self. I remember a time during my caregiving space; I wore the same tee-shirt for five days straight, with a spit bath somewhere in there. Yes, I said it. Yes, I admit it, and no; I am not ashamed.
All too often, caregivers ignore themselves for the duty of others. When the loved-one is under your roof, the events of the days and night take center stage. Thinking about self was so low on the totem pole, looking up to enjoy its artistry was a negative.
Why Don’t Caregivers Take Care Of Themselves?
It rarely felt like a priority in the big scheme of things. As time went by, I realized that taking care of my personal, emotional, and spiritual health as a caregiver was just as important as all of my caregiving tasks — perhaps even more. I had to learn how to balance the demands of my caregiver role, while being sure to take time for myself.
As a longtime caregiver, the focus was never on me. I had to consciously think that it was important to take care of myself and transferred that same energy to my loved-one. The emotional toll, feeling alone, dancing to someone else’s music, took the focus off of self-care.
I learned over the years; that self-care behaviors are gifts in the caregiving space. What were the gifts I learned during my caregiver journey of 20-years? This list is not exhausted, but it made the difference.
· Annual physicals, shots and vaccinations
· Eat healthy meals and snacks
· Exercise(I did biceps drips on my fire place edge)
· Sleep when love ones are sleeping
· Dance like no one was watching
· Utilized community services(Meals on Wheels)
· Senior Centers(if able)
· In home respite help
· Ask for and accept help
· Walking my dog in the neighborhood
I could go on and on with 20-years of caregiving under my belt. Keeping these approaches in mind will help you to take care of yourself. Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate is here for you!