How to Look After Yourself While Caring for Another

Self-care is essential. Yet, when you are spending time looking after another person regardless of their condition, it becomes less and less important in daily life. Neglecting yourself only puts your caring capacity at risk and increases the likelihood that you will start to deteriorate too. This guide has some useful information for caregivers to enable them to look after themselves better, and you can get started straight away. 

Recognize the Signs of An Imminent Burnout

Caring for loved ones with conditions like dementia comes with a price. An imminent burnout is easy to spot from the outside, but more difficult when you’re in the thick of it every day. Listen to your close circle when they are telling you to take a break because this is the first sign that you are close to the edge of burnout. Other signs that you might be suffering from Caregiver Stress Syndrome aka the burnout diagnosis, are increased irritability, insomnia or exhaustion, weight loss or weight gain, illness, headaches, increased social isolation, and an identity crisis. If any of these things are happening, it is time to get some help. 

Take a Break

There are all sorts of respite care options out there that are worth looking into so that you can take a well-deserved break from time to time. Don’t feel as though you must miss out on social occasions every time they pop up or sacrifice date night with your partner regularly because you are a carer now. There are always ways to support your relationships whether they are social or romantic. Talk to your family and friends about helping out every now and then and make the most of the downtime so that your brain can recalibrate and still do what you love to do outside of this new responsibility. 

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Join a Carer Support Circle

There are hundreds and hundreds of carer support groups out there, and there will even be ones that are specific to your situation. Finding one and joining the fold means you have a group of people who understand exactly what you do and how you might be feeling. It is a great space to bounce ideas off people, vent, cry, shout, talk happy memories, and everything else that you need to do. Sometimes, being able to connect with people who truly understand is all the therapy you need.

Don’t Give Into Denial 

It is only natural that you would want to keep the care arrangement going for as long as possible. However, this is not always a suitable or sustainable option for your loved one. If their care needs begin to exceed your capacity and knowledge, it may be time for professional intervention so that there can be a more informed approach. Protecting your loved one’s well-being in this way is incredibly brave, and a difficult decision to make, but one that is necessary, nevertheless.  

Looking after yourself while you care for another person is non-negotiable. You have to protect your well-being so that you can do what needs to be done and make the best decisions possible.