When you're a family caregiver, there's a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. You could try to soldier through without considering how you're affected, but that's not going to get you as far as you'd like. Try some of these strategies.
Practice Self-awareness Regularly
It's easy to let yourself go numb and to just go through the motions of every day. It's even easier when you're too busy to eat right and to get enough sleep. Self-awareness means that you're making a conscious effort to pay attention to what is going on with your body, your mind, and your emotions. Mindful activity helps you to maintain awareness.
Form a Support Network for Yourself
If you don't already have a support system that you can count on, you need to formulate one. your own support network is going to look different than anyone else's, but it might be made up of:
- Family members
- Members of support groups you attend
Having a wide range of different people you can count on helps you to get all of your needs met without feeling as if you're burdening one person or one group.
When You Need Help, Ask for It
Family caregivers are used to pitching in and helping but they may not be as used to asking for help themselves. When you first realize that you need help, with anything at all, start practicing asking other people for help. The benefit to doing this even in smaller situations is that you're gaining more practice, which can make it easier for you to ask for help with the bigger situations.
Stay on Top of How You're Feeling
Set aside time for yourself that you can go through this checklist with yourself and make sure that everything is still working well for you. If something isn't working any longer, make the necessary changes to get everything back on track. Being a caregiver means that you're going to continually monitor and adjust situations to keep them on an even keel.
Paying attention to your own needs isn't selfish at all. Instead it allows you to be able to have the energy to continue being a caregiver to your loved one.