by Glory Eshareturi
At Compass we are a company of caregivers. We employ staff who provide support and guidance for some clients, and care for others. Many of our staff spend many hours a week working with their clients and helping to provide care for some of their greatest needs. Just outside of our Compass community we know there are many mothers, brothers, uncles, cousins, and so on, who also provide care for their loved ones on a daily basis. Caregiving for family members can be a full time job that is sometimes juggled in addition to another job or other responsibilities. It is a very honorable thing to care for a loved one, but it is just as important for caregivers to care for themselves. Taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for those you care for. Taking care of yourself on a daily basis is the only way to possibly take care of others without burning out in the long run.
Here are 5 ways you can care for yourself as a caregiver:
- Take Breaks: When you are caring for someone who requires 24 hour care, it is important to take breaks for yourself. Make arrangements for someone else to take over care for a period of time and get some rest. Take some time to do something you enjoy like read a book, take a nap, or take a bath.
- Get Some Exercise: It seems counterintuitive if you’re already emotionally or physically drained, but getting exercise can be one of the best decisions you can make for yourself. Go outside and run or walk with a friend. The fresh air and sunshine will be refreshing. If the weather isn’t good, try taking an exercise class and doing something low impact or relaxing like yoga, dancing, or tai chi.
- Eat a Healthy Diet: This can be intimidating as well, but it is so important to your overall health that your body is nourished. Eating well can help maintain your health and energy. If you need ideas on great, simple, healthy recipes, check out our Compass Healthy Living Series! We share so many simple and delicious recipes that you and your loved ones can try!
- Get Enough Sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep is so important to healthy caregiving. A good night is 7-9 hours a night. Sometimes it can be difficult to sleep even though you’re exhausted. Some ways to combat this are to get into a routine of sleeping and waking at the same time each day, avoid caffeine late in the day, and avoid social media or TV watching just before bed. Some things that may help are taking a warm bath or reading a book before bed.
- Laugh Loads: Having and keeping a sense of humor is important to living a balanced life. Laughter is good medicine! Get a daily dose of humor by watching funny videos on facebook or a comedy. Be sure to let your loved on in on the humor, as laughter is good medicine for all!
There you have some practical ways to care for yourself while caring for someone else. Remember, it is difficult to give care if you have none stored up for yourself. What are some other ways you care for yourself while caring for another person? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!