The Importance Of Self-Care As A Caregiver
Last updated: November 2023
Caregiving is such an important task. But what’s more important is how to go easy on your own self while being there for the people you love. Sometimes it is also important to take care of your own self. This is if you are really serious about wanting to be a caregiver.
We all know that caregiving feels like a 24/7 thing. You just can’t help but think about the person and their well-being. But meanwhile, you are losing a connection with yourself. I am saying all of this because I learned it the hard way. Unfortunately, I was so consumed by my father’s well-being that I would skip my meals. Sometimes I would ignore my sleep. I would just be in the kitchen cooking, or keeping tabs on his appointments and medicines.
Take care of yourself, too
It was all okay to be taking care of him, but what I was doing to myself was not okay at all. Even if I had time to get in some rest or some alone time, I wouldn't take it. Call me a hidden figure, I would just wander around in case he needed me. I opened some articles related to the caregiver’s roles and challenges and there it was. The words were hitting me like a bullet train. It was all true: take care of yourself!!
I was just thinking about myself. Would taking care of myself make me as a caregiver selfish? But that is not true. It would help me to be there more actively than in the other case. I learned about deep breathing exercises to calm my brain and body. This was during the days when he was hospitalized. Even sitting by his bedside, I could practice my deep breaths and they actually did their magic for me. After having a rough day, I would also do this deep breath technique to relax my brain before I hit my bed.
On good days, when my father was not in need of me, I would just let him know that I would be outside. I would go out for a nice walk, do some shopping, and eat some nice food and all of this actually helped me. It helped me be more awake and part of the process because otherwise, it was becoming more and more difficult for me to concentrate during his appointments or other chores.
Self care is essential, it's not selfish!
I cannot emphasize much how important it is to take care of your own self. While being a caregiver because you really don’t want to fall sick. Just because you could not take care of yourself while being there for others. It does not make us any less, but it is humanly not possible to ignore your mental, emotional, and physical health, while being available for your loved ones. They would also not want that for you too.
Self-care is essential, not selfish. I would suggest taking care of your emotions just like you take care of your body. It is very important to be mentally at peace while taking care of others. We got this!!
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