Caregiver, Care for Yourself in the New Year
Posted by Kimber Vassilos, Social Worker
Caregiving in itself can be difficult. Ones desire to help, nurture and support a loved one at end of life is daunting. Most of the time, caregivers have made a decision to care either by desire, or necessity. In any case, unless they care for themselves, there is little they can do for their loved one.
I always think of it as that message that we are given when on an airplane.... ”In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.” This very idea is at the center of caregiving.
Caregiving in the best circumstances can be a challenge. Often times, family finds that what they thought caregiving would be like becomes very different then from what it is. Although challenging, caregiving can be very fulfilling, the key is to care for yourself in meaningful ways. To put the oxygen on first.
Some ways to care for yourself is to set aside some time every day, even 10 minutes, to meditate, pray, or listen to soothing music. Getting into a routine really helps you to “remember” to take care. Have a ritual in the evening. Perhaps a warm bath, a cup of hot tea, even binge watching a few episodes of something enjoyable on Netflix, and can help alleviate not only the physical strain, but the psychic strain as well.
The goal is to get you out of the caregiver world and get you in to something unrelated. To give yourself the gift of time, no matter how short. In this way you can optimize the energy that you need to provide loving care to your loved one.