Taking care of yourself: Self-care for caregivers
Caring for a spouse or family member can be demanding, which is why it’s important to take care of yourself too. Give yourself regular breaks and hold on to your independence to maintain a healthy headspace and make sure you don’t burn out. Follow our four self-care tips for improving your mental health and wellbeing to be a better caregiver.
Give yourself some time off
“One of the most important things any carer can learn to do is become ‘selfist’ and do things for themselves”, says counsellor Gillian Stevens, author of Explore, Transform, Flourish. “If guilt and doubt surface, then remind yourself that taking care of yourself gives you the energy, love and time to devote to others.”
Perhaps your time off is a weekly coffee date with a friend, a morning swim or a twice-daily walk with your dog. Whatever activity you choose for your ‘me’ time, the more it helps refresh you, give you a change of scenery and distract your thoughts, the better.
Notice the good things
Every day you make a difference to the person you’re caring for, take a few moments now and again to reflect on how important your role is, and how important you are. Everyone needs positive feedback, even when it comes from yourself! You deserve to feel significant.
Decide what jobs you want to do
Think about all the chores and responsibilities on your plate, and decide what’s realistic to take on yourself and what you’d like to delegate. You’re going to need support from others. And you don’t have to do everything to be a conscientious, loving carer. It’s okay to ask for help.
Understand your rights
It’s important to understand your legal rights as a caregiver and be aware of the financial assistance that you’re eligible for. Visit www.carersaustralia.com.au for more information.
We support you so that you have more time for what really matters
Remember, your KinCare Customer Care Manager is always available for a chat. If you find that you’re struggling to keep up each day or just need the odd break, we can provide you with respite or organise a home care worker to visit your home regularly. Now is the time to invest in what really matters – spending more time with your loved ones.