Caring for an aging parent or child with special needs is a journey that can be both rewarding and challenging. Caring for an elder or a child with special needs, can result in challenges and difficulties that can ultimately take a toll on your physical health and emotional wellbeing.
Certain emotions such as grief, hopelessness, sadness, anger, and frustration are common, and can sometimes be unavoidable. While these feelings are unpleasant, they are normal. Such feelings often arise when you are having trouble identifying useful solutions for your parent or child.
As a caregiver, it is not uncommon to overlook self-care while you are working to address the many challenges that may arise in the course of the day. However, it is important that you make time to take care of yourself! The following are five tips that you might implement to enhance your well-being as a caregiver:
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Sometimes, you need to ask for help either with the physical and emotional aspects of caregiving. It is not healthy to try to do everything all the time. In fact, overloading your schedule without support may put your health at risk in the future.
Asking a family member or friend for help is an excellent way to start. Your family and friends might want to help you, but not know where their assistance would be most useful. Be sure to let individuals know exactly what you need. In addition to seeking assistance from family members, you can seek help from support groups, organizations like Caregiver Support Services, and health professionals such as a family doctor, a social worker, or a financial planner.
Don’t be too Hard on Yourself
It is important to avoid looking at what other people are doing. As measuring your accomplishments based on another is unhealthy. You have the opportunity to enhance your health and wellbeing by appreciating what you are doing in your life.
Be flexible in the face of adversity, pat yourself on the back, and include enjoyable activities in your daily routine. You can also maintain your well-being by balancing expectations taking a moment each day to acknowledge your achievements.
Plan Time for Yourself
As a caregiver, you spend most of your time caring for your elderly loved one or child with special needs. Although it is appreciable to advocate for the needs of your loved one or client, you must also plan time for yourself. Be sure to carve out time for yourself. You might consider activities that you find relaxing. For instance, you can stop to take a few deep breaths, do Yoga, or meditation to soothe your mind, or take time for a cup of coffee to boost your neurons and reduce fatigue.
Build Social Relationships
Building strong relationships with friends, co-workers, or other caregivers can be a healthy outlet when you face challenges and obstacles as a caregiver. Connecting with others, to share a laugh or smile relieves stress and anxiety. You also can build relationships with other caregivers to learn about resources and care options.
Share Your Feelings
You may feel overwhelmed and from time to time you may want to share how you are feeling with others. Although this might seem intrusive to you, when you find someone who is reliable and helpful, you will find comfort in sharing your feelings.
Mental health counseling is a safe way to talk about your emotions and seek advice from a health professional. Counseling can help you improve your interpersonal and communication skills, develop greater self-esteem, and ability to change self-defeating habits.
Self-care is important if you seek longevity in your ability to care for your loved one or client. Make self-care a part of your day-to-day routine to ensure your own health and wellness.