”Taking Care of You, When Taking Care of Others” is a collaborative post and includes affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Disclaimer – always verify medical information with your doctor or a professional and follow all laws for your location.
For some of us, taking care of others is our love language. We want to do simple things like to make dinner and have hot coffee waiting in the morning. If a loved one should end up in an accident or illness, we want to take care of them too. Many people become carers for friends and family, or even choose to be care professional as a career.
However, when you choose to do to this whether as a career or as a necessity for someone you love, there is typically some things that you’re too busy to take care of—namely yourself. The saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup, which makes it vital that you find ways to look after yourself too.
It becomes very easy to burn out. This can happen without you even noticing initially. Between school runs, nursing duties, doctor’s appointments, work, taking care of a home, and everything else in between, you might not notice just how tired you are. You might begin to think this is your new normal but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are a few things you can do to take care of yourself when you are taking care of others.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
There will be times that you need to make a tough decision on behalf of your friends or family members. Sometimes, it’s important to remember that you need to have as much information as possible when that happens.
Talk to doctors, nurses, and supporting staff to make sure you have everything that you need.
Depending on the situation, you might need to look at things like in-home healthcare, assisted living, hospice services, getting second opinions, or changing some of the surroundings to accommodate your loved one. This might include bath modifications, stair modifications, And a patient transfer device that gives you the strength to get out of bed in the morning and care for those who need you.
Keep in touch
You must keep in touch with other friends and family outside the immediate situation. This lovely group of people will be able to take your mind off things, and in some cases, give you the emotional support that you need to deal with the other issues. It is easy to become very isolated when helping a family member or friend in the home. Everyone needs interaction with others including the person that you are caring for.
Heading out and getting tea or coffee with friends when you have the chance, or even long conversations via WhatsApp can be a huge bonus. Sometimes it is easy to forget that there is life outside of caring duties, and life will be waiting outside those walls, should you choose to head back out there even just for 2-3 hours a week. If you have a trusted friend, ask for help so you can step outside of the home where you are taking care of you loved one just so you can have a mental and emotional break.
Often when caring for loved ones, a lot of sitting, cleaning, and cooking are likely. You must take some time just to walk. Getting out and getting some fresh air is not only great for you mentally, but it is very great for you physically. Even if you’re doing a lot with cooking and cleaning, walking can provide some of that much-needed cardio. Plus, if there is ever a time you need some happy endorphins, this is it!
It can be difficult to fit in a 30-minute walk per day, but even a walk to the local grocery store and back is better than nothing at all.
Be sure to schedule in some time to recharge. If you need to hire someone or ask a friend to keep an eye on things once a week for 2-4 hours just so you can regroup each week. Whatever it is that makes you feel taken care of, make sure that you make time for it every week. And even though it’s hard to do this for lots of caregivers, allow those who wish to take care of you the opportunity to do so. It’ll be beneficial for you and the person you are caring for. Do you have any advice on this? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.
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