Balancing life and caregiving duties is difficult. It’s so important to take care of yourself so you can do your best to take care of others. Caregiving is different for each person and each situation is unique. A loved one’s needs will vary and change over time. There are many things you can do to balance your life in order to have time for yourself and time for your caregiving responsibilities. You can also combine them; for example, you can make an appointment for yourself when you take your loved one to the doctor, dentist or other medical appointment.
If you’ve been wanting to see a movie or visit a museum, consider taking your loved one along for the experience. It could be a nice outing that both of you enjoy. Be sure to balance caregiving responsibilities with pleasurable activities and try to reduce stress as much as possible.
Take Time For Yourself
The most important thing is to make sure you have time for yourself. Go out to a movie with family or friends, get a massage, meditate, or even work on some breathing exercises. Quite simply, take time to do the things you enjoy. For starters, make sure to get enough alone time so you don’t get burnt out. If you need to, consider having someone else in your loved one’s care circle or a healthcare professional take care of your loved one while you take time for yourself. Make sure to get enough sleep, in addition to adequate nutrition and exercise.
You can also consider outsourcing some household duties, like cleaning, laundry or gardening. Meal delivery kits are a great time-saver as well. Many are customizable in size and dietary restrictions. Doing some, or all, of these things will help lessen your responsibilities so that you have more time to focus on yourself and your individual needs. The better you take care of yourself, the better you will be able to take care of your loved one.
Create a Care Circle
Be sure to surround yourself with loved ones or friends who are able to lend a hand. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to reach out and ask for help. Create a care circle that can help care for your loved one, as well as care for you. It’s important to keep keep communication open with your care team. It may help to talk to friends or family individually so they know what you need from them. You can consider options such as in-home care, respite care or local adult day programs.
Remember That You Are Doing Your Best
Caregiving is not an easy task and there is no right or wrong way to give care. Try not to be too hard on yourself and remember you’re doing the best you can. Whether you are caring for your loved one or supporting care for them, you are making a real difference.
Whether you’ve been caregiving for a long time or just started, remember to balance your needs with your caregiving responsibilities. Utilize family and friends as support and, remember, make time for yourself. There are many resources you can use to help with the organization and management of a loved one’s medical needs.