Whether you care for a toddler with endless energy or a homebound relative, everyone needs some “me” time. We offer tips for keeping your cool — and taking care of yourself.
In tending to the needs of others, many people often forget to take care of themselves. Here are 6 ways to make time for YOU.
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter was once quoted as saying, "There are only four kinds of people in the world — those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers."
Caring for a loved one is filled with emotional upheaval, and when you compound it with other stresses — rush-hour traffic, deadlines, dirty laundry — we caregivers are often left holding the bag. As a caregiver, you feel pressure to be all things to all people, and often end up as the martyr, giving yourself the short end of the stick.
Caregiving is often defined as providing direct care for children, elderly people, or the chronically ill. It can be an unrewarded act that requires unconditional devotion and support. As a caregiver, you can sometimes become so involved in the day-to-day efforts of caring for a loved one, you forget you need to care for yourself. Caregiving can be demanding, whether you take care of a disabled child, a spouse with Parkinson's or a parent with Alzheimer's. Each of us responds to stressful situations in different ways.
Unfortunately, it's possible to start down a destructive path by not properly taking care of yourself. Rather than openly expressing feelings and seeking help, many people overeat or use alcohol as coping mechanisms. Some of us even become impatient and agitated or completely lose our sense of purpose and self.
You must incorporate certain behaviors into your daily life to foster your own wellness and care. Taking care of yourself benefits you and your loved ones. Taking the time to meet your personal needs is satisfying and gives you additional strength and vigor in your ongoing role as a caregiver.
Here are 6 ways to help you take care of yourself as you care for your loved ones:
About the author: Alexis Abramson, Ph.D.
Dr. Abramson's expertise on boomers and mature adults has been featured in many national publications including TIME, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur and People magazines. She has written two highly acclaimed books – The Caregivers Survival Handbook, a guide to help caregivers balance the responsibilities of caring for others and for themselves, and Home Safety for Seniors, a room-by-room reference and idea-book for making independent senior, and home-bound, living easier. She earned a master's and a doctorate in gerontology from the University of Southern California.
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