Caretaking can be one of the most stressful events in our lives. It takes such an emotional and psychological toll on our bodies, our mind, our soul, and our outlook on life. Depression and anxiety are likely to result from caretaking and financial strain is often right around the corner. I have compiled a list of self-care tips that might help you tolerate the stress a bit better:
- Respect your own space: Time alone is very important for your overall health. Respecting your personal space means cutting out a part of your world for yourself, even for a few minutes. A bathroom, a corner of the house, a basement, a backyard, the porch, anything to get away.
- Introspection: When I spend time with my own thoughts through meditation or journaling, I find that I grow more and learn more about myself and the world around me. You can’t go wrong.
- Permit yourself to cry: The world thrives on lies and one of the biggest lies is “don’t cry.” Socially, crying communicates weakness, powerlessness, or defeat. But in reality, crying demonstrates your human-side, your emotional needs, and perhaps even your wisdom. When you cry, you actually demonstrate that you care about something. Crying is a release of stress and often frees our mind to move on to the next thing.
- Ask for help: Many caregivers feel responsible for so much that they refuse to ask for help. Asking for help is ok, there’s nothing wrong with this. Help is what you need to keep moving forward in strength.
- Avoid alcohol/drugs: Alcohol is a natural depressant to the brain and central nervous system. At high doses, alcohol can not only be deadly, but increase the chances of long-lasting changes to the brain. Drugs do the same, even so-called “mild” drugs or prescription meds. While medication can be used to heal, they can also cloud your thinking. Alcohol and illicit drugs do the same.
- Allow yourself to be human: It’s very unnatural to claim that we know everything, can handle everything, and don’t have fears, worries, or concerns. ALL human life, at some point, will come to that fork in the road where nothing makes sense. It’s okay to say that you don’t understand this place in your life and you don’t like it.
- Know that you are only human: One of my good friends spent an entire 2 years after the death of her mother trying to prove that she could not only raise her grandchild, but work a 12+hr per week job. She applied for two jobs, took night classes, and took care of her 9-year-old grandson who lived with her. Despite her increasing levels of stress, she continued this way until she burnt completely out. She realized during this time that she is human and cannot juggle the world on her shoulders. It’s IMPOSSIBLE! Don’t try.
For more tips of this nature, try the HelpfulGuide.org.
All the best to you