Key Takeaways:

  • Prevent caregiver burnout by taking time to practice self-care.
  • Self-care may look different for every caregiver. Find what works for you!
  • Don't feel guilty for taking time to care for yourself.

s a caregiver, you're likely juggling a lot of responsibilities. You may be taking care of yourself as well as another person. This can be very tiring, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself to avoid burnout —and help you stay strong for your loved ones. Taking time to do things you enjoy will help you stay energized and focused on your caregiving responsibilities.

Acknowledge the sacrifice you're making.

One of the most important things you can do for yourself as a caregiver is to acknowledge that you are making a sacrifice. It's easy to get caught up in feeling guilty about this and believing that nobody else is sacrificing anything. But even though it may feel like you're the only one who's going through something difficult, odds are good that there are others who are experiencing similar hardships.

It's also important not to feel like you're alone in your sacrifice because it can help with perspective—and perspective is key for staying positive.

Don't minimize your caregiving role.

Don't think of it as a burden, or assume that it makes you a burden on others. You are more than just a caregiver—you are a person with needs and wants and goals in life, and they should be as important to you as anything else in your life.

Get help by asking for it.

Once you’ve reached a point where you need help, it’s time to ask for it. You might feel uncomfortable requesting assistance from others and have no idea where to start, but here are some ways that you can get the support that you need:

  • Ask family and friends for help with simple tasks like running errands, making phone calls, and preparing meals. If they offer to pitch in of their own volition, even better!
  • Consider hiring a professional caregiver, such as a home health aide or elder care nurse instead.
  • Connect with other caregivers online through Facebook groups or support groups on GetSetUp.
  • Seek out professional counseling services if needed (e.g., from a therapist).

Cope with stress and anxiety by taking a break.

Don't be afraid to take a break from time to time. Take a walk, go for a drive in the country, or spend some quality time in the bathtub with your favorite book. You deserve it!

Don't let guilt get in your way—if you need more than one day of rest each week, take it. Remember that caregiving is not supposed to be an isolated job—your loved ones will be there when you're ready again.

Learn more about how you can take a break with respite care

Manage your emotions and moods through healthy habits.

It's a fact that you'll feel like you're at your best when you're taking care of yourself. The list below is just a few ideas, but there are many other ways to manage your emotions and moods:

  1. Exercise regularly. Studies show that exercise improves mood, relieves stress, and puts you in a better frame of mind for helping others.
  2. Eat healthy foods (such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains). These foods provide nutrients that help keep your body strong so it can withstand the stress of caregiving—and they’ll make it easier for you to feel good about yourself throughout the day! Consider adding these Top 7 Mood-Boosting Foods into your diet.
  3. Get enough sleep each night as well as an afternoon nap every now and then if possible; this will give your body time to rest up so it can handle everything else on its plate with ease!

Treat yourself to something special every now and again.

You may find that you are neglecting your own needs. You probably haven't had time for yourself in a long time, so make sure that you do something special for yourself every now and again.

Treat yourself to something special like a day off, a trip somewhere, or even getting a manicure or pedicure. You will feel better if you give yourself some time away from caregiving responsibilities and enjoy an indulgence every now and then.

Learn more about self-care and treating yourself as a caregiver.

Caregivers are an integral part of our society. They provide a valuable service and deserve to be treated as such.

It's important that we recognize this role as one worth honoring because caregivers are often stigmatized for putting their own needs aside to care for others instead. If you're caring for someone else, take time for yourself so that you can continue doing your job well!

Jul 12, 2022