Being a Carer for a loved one can take a lot of work. It can be all that easy to end up putting their needs before your own. But, ignoring your own health while taking care of someone else can carry its own risks.
According to Barry Jacobs from Crozer Health, ”No matter what you age, not making time for your own needs can cause sleep deprivation, poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. These habits can increase the risk of further health problems such as depression and chronic illness. There could even be a possible decline in your quality of life.”
This is why it is crucial that you take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. It’s similar to what they tell us all on a plane. You must put your oxygen mask on first before you start helping others.
To help make life easier, we’ve gathered a few helpful tips on how you can keep and eye on and take of yourself whilst caring for others.
Stress can play a big part in problems like headaches, high blood pressure, skin conditions, depression and anxiety. It’s important to be able to identify the early signs of stress so that you can prevent developing such problems.
Waiting until you are overwhelmed can make it harder to make changes needed. Some of the early warning signs of stress can include:
- Sleeping problems
- Mood changes
A good way to identify a source of stress as a Carer is by asking yourself basic questions about what is causing it. Think about what you can and cannot change about your situation. The smallest change can have big benefits.
Make Time For You
While it might sound contradictory to say ‘make time for yourself‘ as a Carer, when you care for a loved one 24/7. It can be done, time management and asking for help will get you there. Making time for yourself will also help with stress management. Being a Carer is a both a physically and emotionally demanding job. It’s important to find time for you to relax to be able to regain energy and pick back up the responsibilities of being a Carer.
It order to be the best Carer you can be, you need to remember to take care of you too. Even on your busiest days, take mini breaks to catch your breath. This could be with enjoying a cuppa while looking out at garden, going for a walk, taking a bath or chatting with a friend.
Avoid burnout – take time for you.
Eat Right & Get Active
Eating right and a little exercise can help with taking care of you as you care for others. It can help give you energy, de-stress and manage your weight. Not to mention, you will also sleep a lot better too.
Perhaps the loved one you are caring for could also join you in the healthier eating and exercise. It could be an activity you do together.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
It can be a scary step to take but one of the best and biggest steps you can take is asking someone for help. It’s important to be realistic with yourself about what you can and can’t handle.
Make a list of things that your family members can help you with. It could be something as simple as sitting with the one you care for while you shower or go to the shops. Of course, if you believe that you would benefit more from professional help, there are a number of great organisations that can help here in Ireland.