Today I Learned...
- To not feel guilty about setting time aside to practice self-care
- Taking time to myself will help me be the best caregiver I can be
- Prioritizing self-care in my daily routine is vital to my well-being
f you're caring for someone with dementia, it's important to take care of yourself, too.
Here are some tips for self-care as a caregiver:
1. Take time to do things you enjoy every day.
When you're a caregiver for someone living with dementia, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of caring for them. This can leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, which isn't good for anyone.
It's important to make time every day to do things that make you feel good and help you stay healthy. It doesn't have to be anything big.
Maybe it's a walk around your neighborhood or a quick trip to the coffee shop. Maybe it's a long bath or watching your favorite show on Netflix. Whatever it is, make time for yourself every day—even if that means waking up half an hour early! Follow this caregiver self-care checklist to make sure you are caring for yourself!
Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. You deserve it!
2. Set aside time to exercise, meditate, or be in nature every day.
Exercise, meditation, and being in nature are three great ways to take care of yourself as a dementia caregiver.
Exercise is one of the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety. It can help you sleep better at night, lower your blood pressure, and reduce your risk of heart disease. It's also a great way to get out of the house if you need some time alone or just want to get out of the house for a bit. If you're not able to make it to the gym or go running outside, try practicing yoga or tai chi at home.
Meditation can help clear your mind and soothe your spirit when it feels like everything is falling apart around you. There are lots of different types of meditation that have been proven effective for reducing stress levels: mindfulness meditation; loving-kindness meditation; guided imagery; even listening to nature sounds while lying in bed can have positive effects on mood and well-being!
Being in nature is also an excellent way to relax. Just taking a walk around your neighborhood or sitting outside on a park bench can make all the difference in feeling less overwhelmed.
Try some of GetSetUp's exercise and meditation classes:
- Stretch and Destress Yoga
- Tai Chi - Shibashi
- Yoga and Meditation
- Breath-Work Techniques for Healing and Meditation
3. Eat healthy foods.
When you're caring for a loved one with dementia, it can be easy to put their needs first and ignore your own. But if you want to stay healthy and strong, you need to take care of yourself too.
Eating well is a great place to start. Make sure you're getting enough protein and whole grains, which will help keep your immune system strong and make you feel more energetic. And while it's tempting to skip meals when you're busy, don't! Eating regularly will also help prevent dehydration, which can cause all sorts of problems.
Try some of GetSetUp's cooking classes and learn easy, healthy recipes you can make when you don't have a lot of time:
4. Practice communication and behavior management skills.
The most important thing you can do for yourself as a dementia caregiver is to practice communication and behavior management skills.
Communication is the key to helping your loved one feel heard and understood, which will help them feel more at ease To minimize agitation in a person with dementia, it's important to use short sentences and keep the tone of your voice even.
Nonverbal communication is also important. Loving gestures or even just a smile can make your loved one feel calmer and less anxious. And allow them time to process what you say—don't rush things along.
Learn about staying positive as a caregiver, when behavior is at an all-time high:
5. Forgive yourself—often.
It's OK to feel frustrated, angry, guilty, overwhelmed or exhausted. You're not a bad person if you do. It's natural.
Even if you are feeling resentment about your obligations, that's natural, too.
You are not a lesser person or a bad daughter, son, mother, or father for feeling this way. You are simply human and entitled to the full gamut of emotions we experience in life. Accepting yourself will help you cope with these feelings. Talking about them can also be helpful as it normalizes what is going on inside you. All of these strategies will help you better handle your emotions and ultimately prevent burnout.
For more self-care tips to prevent burnout:
Laughter is a great way to take a break from the intensity of caregiving. Watch a funny tv show or movie! Watch funny videos on Social Media.
Laughing is good for your mental health, and you can do it anywhere!
Learn how to add more laughter into your life as a caregiver:
7. Be willing to ask for help when needed and accept assistance graciously.
Sometimes it can be hard to know when you need a break—especially if you've been taking care of your loved one for a long time. But if you're feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, you should ask for help.
There are many resources at your disposal to help you take care of yourself while taking care of your loved one. You may want to ask for help from friends and family members or consider hiring a professional caregiver.
If you need a break, consider respite care. Learn more:
8. Try not to feel guilty about taking time for yourself. You're doing the best you can!
It's easy to feel guilty about taking time for yourself. After all, you're a caregiver—you're supposed to be giving your all to the person you're caring for, right? But the truth is that nobody can do that forever. Your body and mind need rest too, or you will burn out and become unable to take care of anyone at all.
So try not to feel guilty about taking time for yourself! You're doing the best you can, and it's important for you to take care of yourself so that you can continue taking care of others.