Now that people are having children later in life, there is a whole generation of folks overwhelmed by caring for their school-age kids while also caring for elderly parents.
Between your daily tasks and all the needs you serve constantly, it is extremely important to take time for yourself. Self-care helps establish a life balance that will allow you to continue serving your loved ones without sacrificing your health or happiness.
Validate Your Feelings
It is normal to feel a whole array of emotions when giving so much of yourself away to someone else. Recognize your frustration, anxiety, sadness, fear, etc, and validate that it is okay. Too often, caregivers ignore their emotions to be strong for those they are caring for. Your emotions are valid and you should not feel guilty for having them. Find solutions and constructive ways of coping with your feelings.
Spend Time Outdoors
Nothing lifts the spirits quite like nature. The bonus here is that time spent outdoors benefits everyone, so feel free to go on regular walks or enjoy time in nature with your elderly loved one. If you are stuck indoors, open a window and breathe in the fresh air deeply as you relax.
Nourish Your Body
Caregivers often neglect themselves to the point that basic needs are not being met. You will feel your best if you eat nutritious, healthy meals at regular intervals. Consider solutions to eating healthy when you are low on time. Also, try buying a fancy or decorative water bottle that you will want to carry with you and drink from all day. Six to eight glasses of water per day will drastically help your body feel better!
Ask For Help
Some of the tasks a caregiver does can be delegated to others. Perhaps you have a teenage child or sibling who would be willing to schedule doctor appointments. Perhaps you can create a quick check-in routine multiple friends and family can accomplish each day so you can free up a little more time. If you are feeling overwhelmed with caregiver responsibilities, learn to ask for help!
These four tips are by no means all you can do to care for yourself as someone else’s caregiver. The thing here to remember is that your health and happiness is just as important as the loved ones you are caring for!