5 Things to take care of YOU!
Being someone’s full time caregiver can be hard on your own mental health. Whether you’re a mom taking care of a child with extra needs or a child taking care of a parent with extra needs. Being there for someone 24/7 can make you resentful, tired and most of all can make you feel lonely. 5 ways to take care of yourself being a full time caregiver. Things I’ve learned over the years to help combat the negative emotions and keep my happiness! Taking care of the you, so you can take care of them!
Finding a support system is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family member! Joining groups online of people in similar situations can help combat loneliness not to mention you’ll find yourself learning about new resources and ideas. There are Facebook groups and online forums for just about everything! With a little research you’ll soon have a daily support system where you can vent, share ideas and successes! Through your local doctors, therapists and social workers you may be able to find support groups in your areas that have weekly or monthly meetings. This may give you an opportunity to get out of the house and be around people that are going through similar situations.
Spending time with your friends outside of your situation can help also. When you can, plan an afternoon out with a friend, just to talk and do something you enjoy that’s for you. Walking the mall, browsing flea markets, going to a movie or just hanging out at a coffee shop visiting. Remember that recharging your own self will help make you a better caregiver! Don’t feel guilty for taking that time for yourself.
Being physically active is one of the best ways to keep your body AND your mind healthy! This doesn’t mean you need to run a marathon, however I have walked some Half Marathons and it is quite cathartic to cross that finish line! Taking a walk everyday, exercise videos at home, dancing to music while you clean, having a good piece of exercise equipment at home (ex. treadmill or elliptical) or better yet, join the local gym! Just 20 minutes a day can seriously adjust your attitude for the rest of the day! Even when I wake up in a fog, jumping on my elliptical for 20 mins can help get the blood flowing and sets the tone for the rest of the day!
I can’t say enough about this! Whether you do it daily, weekly or just whenever, a good brain dumping journaling session can really help clear your mind and put your emotions back in order. Making sure to always include a list of what you’re thankful for and recent accomplishments can really help you stay positive even when times are tough. My daily routine now includes writing down positive affirmations every morning in my planner because self talk really can help you see the world in a better light. Every evening I write down 3 things that I’m grateful for from that day and it can be as simple as, I got to have my coffee in peace and quiet or my family member had a great day and we got a lot accomplished.
Taking care of someone that can’t fully take care of themselves can be very taxing on the mind. So, grab a cute notebook and make it your escape! Write down the good, the bad and the ugly! This is something that can be helpful if you’re needing to keep track of behaviors or changes in your family member also. You can keep a separate journal to help keep track of behaviors after medication changes or changes that you see that might concern you. Questions for the doctors or therapists can also be kept in a journal so that you don’t have to try and remember everything today! Use a journal to dream, to cry, to laugh and most of all to unload and recharge your mind.
Unplug from technology, unplug from reality. Sometimes as caregivers we don’t get a chance to leave the house as often as some people. Books can be a great way for your mind to travel. To learn to new things, to escape for a little while into fantasy and fiction or for self help and meditation. I love to browse the shelves of our local library to find find new authors with new adventures! I recently found a new author, Nick Petrie, and I’m excited to read his most recent book, Light it Up. You’ll have to check out my review post coming soon or get your own copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble (my favorite book store to get lost in for hours!)
Find something that makes your soul smile! This can be something as simple as having a collection of something and enjoying the hunt for new pieces. Crafts that maybe your family member can even help with! Maybe even a side hustle that not only gives you something to look forward to everyday but also a little extra income. Whether it be starting your own blog, getting into direct sales (I love being an Avon Lady!) or even just starting your own Facebook page to express yourself and motivate others! I find helping others helps to remind me that I’m not alone in my struggles and gives me a reason to look forward to each day! My hobbies have become our family’s second source of income and also a creative outlet that brings our whole family together, including giving our son a chance to learn about business and seeing him find ways that he can be productive right from our own home. We are always adding something new to our Etsy Shop and we’d love it if you’d stop by and let us know what you think!
What do you do to take care of you? I would love to hear from other caregivers and hear how you keep yourself motivated and happy!