- Caregiving can be emotionally and mentally challenging, and it is important to practice self-care during these difficult times.
- Taking care of yourself first will enable you to provide better care for your loved one.
- Expect a range of emotions, including guilt and grief, and don't be afraid to ask for help or seek professional support if needed. There are many resources available to caregivers to help manage stress and promote self-care, including respite care workers, support groups, and classes.
hile caregiving can be an incredibly rewarding experience, it can also take a toll on you mentally and emotionally. You’re going to have ups and downs, periods of happiness, anger, frustration, exhaustion — the whole spectrum of human emotion. And that’s okay. It’s important for you to remember that your feelings are valid and normal.
Being a caregiver is not an easy task, and it is important that you practice self-care, especially during trying times.
It is important to take care of yourself first so that you can continue to provide for your loved one. If caregiver guilt persists for more than a few weeks or becomes severe enough to interfere with daily life or functioning then it may be time to seek help from a professional therapist or doctor who can assess your situation and provide recommendations on the best course of action moving forward.
Make time for yourself.
You need to take care of yourself, too. There are many ways you can do this.
Here are some ideas:
- Make time for activities that you enjoy, including spending time with friends and family.
- Have a rest break every hour or so, even if it is only for a few minutes at first.
- Exercise regularly (for example walking or swimming). If your health allows it, try something new like tennis lessons or yoga classes – they will help boost your confidence and self-esteem as well as improving your physical health benefits! The exercise will also keep away the stress in the mind which makes us feel better overall physically and mentally as well as reducing anxiety levels in caregivers who have been under heavy pressure due to their caring duties over long hours every day (Carers UK).
- Find hobbies such as painting/drawing/sculpture/photography etc; these distract attention from negative thoughts while promoting relaxation at the same time helping build up confidence in yourself through creative expression skills
Learn the importance of self-care and discover more ways to practice it:
- Taking Care of YOU: The Importance of Self-Care as a Caregiver
- A Self-Care Checklist for Caregivers
- 8 Self-Care Tips for Dementia Caregivers
Expect your emotions to change.
Here's the thing about grief, guilt and stress: they're all complex feelings. You'll likely experience these feelings during different stages of the grieving process, and it's possible that you'll feel them more intensely than others. It's also possible that you'll find yourself feeling guilty one minute, then less a few minutes later. Be prepared for these ups and downs!
Know what to do when you feel a certain emotion:
One of the best ways we can handle our own emotions is by understanding what we're feeling at any given time (e.g., "I'm angry" or "I'm sad"). That way, we know how best to handle ourselves in those moments—and it helps us know how other people might be experiencing those same feelings at similar times as well (e.g., "My husband feels sad," or "My friend is angry").
Get support and assistance maintaining your emotions with our Caregiving classes:
Ask for help when you need it.
It's okay to ask for help. By reaching out and asking for help from others, it allows you as a caregiver to take a break from being strong and independent all the time (which can be exhausting).
Start asking for respite workers whenever possible! Respite workers are trained professionals who can come into your home and provide care while also giving you some time off from caring for your loved one. Respite workers can help with tasks like bathing or cooking meals while also serving as companionship during their visits. They can even provide transportation services if needed!
Asking for help doesn't mean you're failing as a caregiver; it just means that you know what your limits are and are willing to acknowledge them.
Learn more about taking a break and getting help from respite care.
As you can see, guilt is a common emotion among caregivers.
It is important to remember that you are only human, and it is okay not to be perfect. As long as you do your best in difficult situations, it is more than enough. By accepting these tips and applying them in your life, you will find yourself feeling less guilty and more confident in your abilities as a caregiver.