”Looking After Your Own Mental Health When Caring For A Loved One” is a collaborative post. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Disclaimer – always verify medical information with your doctor or a professional.
As you get older and your parents get older too, there may come a point when they need you to care for them. If their health is failing and it is no longer safe for them to live independently, you may decide to move them in with you and take on the role of full time care giver. This is a difficult thing to take on, but if your parents need you, there isn’t always a choice.
Your first priority will always be their health and well-being, but it’s so important that you don’t forget about yourself. My mom has always said if you don’t take care of yourself how can you take care of others? Here are some of the best tips on looking after your mental health when you are a full time care giver.
Give Yourself A Break
If you have a busy work and family life plus carrying out extra duties additionally, when are you ever taking time for yourself? A lot of people feel that it’s selfish to want to take time for themselves when they have somebody to look after, but it isn’t. It’s vital for good mental health. You need to give yourself a break. If there are other siblings or family members that can help out, ask if they can take over the care duties every now and again so you can have a break. You should also look into your options for in home care and see if you can call somebody in to give you a bit of respite. This is especially important if they have specific medical needs that you are not qualified to deal with. After a break, you will hopefully come back refreshed.
Look After Your Physical Health
Your physical health has a big impact on your mental health, but a lot of care givers are not physically healthy because they don’t take the time to eat well or exercise. That is only going to damage your mental health further. You might need to make some simple changes to your routine and ensure that you improve your physical health as much as possible.
Share Your Feelings
When you are feeling overwhelmed and burned out, the worst thing that you can do is bottle it all up. Instead, you need to share your feelings and talk it out with somebody else. It’s ok to be frustrated from time to time. It’s only natural. Talk to a friend or another family member about it and you will feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. There are sometimes local support groups in towns to join to speak about your situation and learn from each other. If you are really struggling, you should consider finding a therapist and talking it out with them.
Stress and burnout are very common in caregivers, which is why it’s so important that you take steps to manage your own mental health.
If you are feeling down or depressed for more days than not, please seek medical attention. If you are feeling like you cannot go on, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat here>>> https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ Or visit the suicide prevention lifeline at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/