I, like many people of my generation are now finding themselves in the role as caregiver. Whether you are caring for aging parents or helping your college age children or like me, the mother of teenagers on their way to high school and helping my husband care for his mother, finding time for self-care can be next to impossible. I have learned that caring for yourself as you care for others is not optional but is necessary for health and wellness. The following are a few suggestions to aid in self -care:
- Listen to your body. Our bodies will warn us when we are in danger. Frequent headaches, extreme fatigue, sleep disturbance, frequent colds and aches and pains are some warning signs that we are running on empty.
- Pay attention to your behavior. Irritability, difficulty controlling worry, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating are also symptoms of depressed mood and anxiety both of which are common occurrences with caregivers. Seek support from loved ones and a professional if these symptoms persist.
- Take time to nurture yourself. Don’t forget what you love. Caregivers often get caught up in the needs of others and forget they have a life. If you like to exercise, go to the gym or take a walk to clear your mind. Remember you are important.
Caring for yourself will allow you to be an even better caregiver for your loved ones. Once again, remember you are important.
Alicia Lurry MA CRC LPC