As we get older, many of us become carers for our elderly parents or other loved ones. Where they once cared for us, they suddenly need us to care for them, and most of us are more than happy to do it. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Many adults find that they are caring for elderly loved ones while looking after their own families and building a career. It can be overwhelming, and you might find yourself dealing with stress and burnout. Here are some tips to help you to care for yourself, prevent burnout, and be the best support you can be for your loved one.
Make a Plan
One of the most common causes of stress for carers is not knowing what is going to happen. Once your parent starts to need more care, their health and well-being can decline quickly, and you might worry about how you, and they, will cope in the coming months and years. Exploring other options, such as home help or a care home like bailyhouse.co.uk, can give you peace of mind, even if it’s not something you are ready for right now.
Schedule Time for Yourself
Finding time for yourself might be difficult if you are caring for your parent around other commitments and responsibilities. But for your own health and well-being, it’s crucial that you do. Try to get into the habit of doing something for yourself every day, even if it’s just ten minutes of reading a book before you sleep. Many people find it easier to take this time if they do it at the same time every day or if they schedule it into their diaries.
Spend Quality Time with Your Loved One
Caring for your loved one can change your relationship completely. You might start to feel like just their carer, which can be bad for your happiness and mental health. Try to make time to do things together that have nothing to do with providing care. Simple things like watching a movie or eating lunch in the garden can help you maintain a loving relationship, not just a caring one.
Take Care of Yourself
To be able to be a good carer, you need to take care of yourself and prioritise your own health and well-being. This means that even when you are busy, you have to fit in the basics of self-care.
The first of these is nutrition. You might be tempted to skip meals and grab unhealthy snacks when you are busy. This can leave you facing your own health issues, as well as energy slumps and low mood. Try to eat healthily, with real foods and good nutrition.
Sleep should be another priority. There may be times when you need to be with your loved one late at night or when you are called on during the night. Keep your energy levels steady the rest of the time with a good sleep routine.
Exercise is a great way to boost your mood, protect your health, take time for yourself, and improve your sleep hygiene. When you are busy, even a short walk can be effective.
Remember, caring is hard. It’s okay to take time for yourself or even to rope in other family and friends to help you.