As we go through life, working and caring for others, often times taking care of oneself isn’t a priority. Then one day you wake up and realize you’re not in very good health, you feel depressed, tired, and worried about your loved one(s) not being cared for properly. If left unattended, this situation can lead to caregiver burnout and serious health issues. Below are some suggestions for how to help improve this situation.
– Acknowledging your need for time away from caregiving is the first step.
– Make an appointment with your Primary Care Physician to discuss your health and get advice.
– Join a Caregiver Support Group, if you don’t already belong to one.
– Sit down with the calendar and take a look at how your day, week and month flow.
– Jot down your commitments, appointments and any other items that impact your time.
– Once you have all the information in front of you, begin to block out time for yourself. Some days it may be only 15 – 30 minutes free time but that’s enough time for a walk, a little exercise or a soak in the tub.
– On the days when you block off a few free hours, make plans with friends to go to a movie or engage in another activity you enjoy.
– If you’re not finding any free time on your calendar, enlist help from family members and friends to make some free time. Once you have time blocked off for yourself, don’t let requests for help take that time away from you; learn to say no.
– The first time through this process will be difficult but don’t give up; it will get easier as you move forward.
Remember, each situation is different and may require different tactics. Don’t be afraid to ask others for their help in this process. Don’t give up if the first thing you try doesn’t work out for you; try other ways of making time for yourself. The most important takeaways from this column are:
• Acknowledge the need to care for yourself
• Block out time for yourself
• Make Plans
• Enlist the help of others
• Protect your time
If you’re looking for help/information on a particular topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and our caregiver support specialist will be in touch.