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Taking Care of Yourself as You Care for Someone Else


Lifestyle Improvement

Posted On: Feb 01, 2017

Taking Care of Yourself as You Care for Someone Else

Taking on the role of caregiver is a loving, selfless act, especially if you're providing end-of-life care to someone you love. Doing this is both a blessing and an agony because while you love being with your loved one at the end, offering care and comfort, it's also devastating to watch someone you care about come to the end of her or his life.  Being a caretaker means devoting the majority of your time and energy to your dying relative, loved one, or friend. However, it's of utmost importance that you still take time for yourself and take care of yourself, even as you care for someone else. If you don't, you may burn out, become resentful, or otherwise lapse in your ability to tend to your loved one.

Even an Hour Every Other Day Is Helpful

In theory, it's easy for someone to tell you to take time to yourself. In reality, it's not so simple. You have to stay by your loved one's side. In fact, perhaps it's all but impossible for you to leave. You still need to make arrangements. Even if you only take an hour to yourself every other day, if you take off one day a week, or if you build in different blocks of time for yourself, you need some space. Call on other friends, relatives, or professional caregivers to give you some relief.

Stress Leads to Impatience

Death is a stressful situation, so there's no way to get away from it completely. However, try to keep stress to a minimum. If you're tense, anxious, or frustrated, then you need to take some time away to breathe and decompress. A stressed out caregiver is an impatient, irritable caregiver. You don't want to take out your feelings on the person you're looking after, do you? That's why self-care is so important for caregivers. More than that, it's vital.

Don't Expect Too Much from Yourself.

You cannot be all things to all people. You are not all things to your loved one, either. You're not a doctor, a nurse, a cook, a maid, etc. If pressures from relatives and friends are too much, ask for help. You can't expect too much from yourself, and you can't allow others to expect too much from you, either.

You don't have to take hours and hours to yourself. You don't have to take a week's vacation or ask someone to replace you as the caregiver. This is an excellent, meaningful opportunity. Just make sure you're watching out for yourself, as well.