4 Ways to Care for Yourself While Caring for a Parent
Taking care of an aging parent can be a difficult task – not only is it physically tiring, but it is also tough on your emotions. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not setting aside time to take care of themselves, too. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so ensure you’re giving your parents the best possible care by following these recommendations for maintaining your own wellbeing, too.
While some things in life are out of your control – especially as a caregiver – there are other stressors that you can reduce or eliminate to lighten the load. For many people, the perception of the caregiving experience can have a big impact on how they cope emotionally. Finding peace in the fact that you are not alone in your situation is a good place to start. Also, identify other lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce stressors and begin adjusting things one at a time.
Schedule Time for Yourself
Life as a caregiver can be extremely busy. If you feel like you’re not getting enough time for yourself, it may be time to start scheduling it purposefully. Whether you choose one day each week that is consistently yours or plan as you go, set aside time to treat yourself. Whether it’s going to the spa, working out, reading a book, or even taking a bath alone, it is crucial to build in those opportunities.
As a caregiver, you are regularly the one providing support for someone else. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t accept help from another person. If someone offers to assist you with things like chores or running errands, don’t be afraid to let them take the reins for a bit. If the offer isn’t there, don’t hesitate to ask a loved one for help. You might be surprised by how much something small, like having someone do your laundry or run to the grocery store, can really impact your day-to-day life.
Talk to Someone
Last but not least, find someone to talk to. You likely have a lot on your mind and keeping it bottled up can lead to stress and poor emotional wellbeing. Whether you want to reach out to a trusted friend or family member, someone from your church, or a professional, getting unbiased advice and having someone who can lend an ear can give you the sounding board needed to maintain your mental and emotional wellness.
Are you currently playing a caregiver role and need help determining how to better care for yourself? Reach out to one of our professionals for help.