Take Care Of Yourself While Caregiving For Others
By: Jennifer Lewis-Hall • Posted on September 25, 2017 • Updated October 20, 2020
How to Avoid the Stress of Caregiving
Many of us are helping someone in some way that we love or care about and wouldn’t have it any other way. But experts say the truth is, if you are one of the millions of women caregiving, chances are at some point you’ve felt tired, overwhelmed – even sad or depressed.
I can relate, especially as a caregiver to my own dad who’s now eighty seven. It’s an honor to help him. But this very important responsibility plus work, kids and family leaves little time to take it easy, regroup, rest or relax. Still I - and you - must take the time to take care of ourselves. Hard? Yes, I know. But it’s a must because of the impact caregiving can have on your mental, physical and emotional health.
5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself While Caregiving for Others
That’s why I’m sharing some information that has helped me. A handful of my simple tips, or you might say gentle reminders for taking care of yourself while you’re providing care for the physical and emotional needs of a family member or friend.
1. Set aside some time for yourself
It can be difficult to do, of course. But take that “me time.” Literally, build it into your schedule. It’s good for your well-being and it's good for maintaining relationships you enjoy.
2. Treat your body well
Eat healthy and keep your body moving – whether it’s getting to a local gym or walking around the block. Get plenty of sleep. When it’s in short supply (and for many of us that’s often the case) nap.
3. Give yourself an emotional break
Caregiving can bring about a range of emotions. Talk to supportive friends about what you’re feeling. Don’t be too hard on yourself when things aren’t going the way you’d like them to. Tomorrow is a new day for you to regroup. Be patient and kind to YOU.
4. Ask for help
Speak up and let people know when you need them to chip in. Use your resources. If services are offered through a social worker, local nonprofit, volunteer organizations or houses of worship, see what they have to offer. It could be added support when it comes to providing meals, transportation or doing laundry.
5. Do a weekly schedule
You can keep it in your phone or write directly on a calendar. Include days you’ve got appointments, the person you’re caregiving for has appointments and who’s filling in while you’re out. I include important phone numbers and contacts there, too. You’ll save time and reduce stress.
Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!
About Jennifer Lewis-Hall
Jennifer Lewis-Hall has built an exceptional career in network television and multimedia. Jennifer – a former national keynote speaker for Speaking of Women’s - anchors Tribune Broadcasting’s PHL17 Morning News in Philadelphia and is the host and producer of PHL17’s public affairs program, In Focus, shining a spotlight on issues impacting communities, including topics ranging from breast cancer awareness to heroin and opioid addiction. And, this Emmy-nominated journalist, is the author of two highly acclaimed books “Life Changes – Using the Power of Change to Transform Your Life” and “Life’s A Journey – Not A Sprint.”
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