Looking after a family member or loved one can be extremely rewarding. So can working in a job that is based around you looking after somebody other yourself. However, both of these things can also be incredibly challenging.
Look after yourself
It may not seem as if looking after yourself is something you have time for. However, the truth is, you must make time. If you don’t, you will simply not be able to maintain your current ability to give sufficient care. You will become worn down and tired, whether this is physically, mentally, or even both.
It could be that you are nursing somebody back to health after a big operation, or chemotherapy. Maybe you are making regular visits to a loved one in palliative care. Or perhaps you have a career in care giving. This may be as a nurse, or a counselor, for example. Whatever the scenario, if care for another adult is at the center of your life, chances are times are sometimes tough.
It’s time to give some thought to yourself. Doing so helps everyone. So, how can you keep yourself fighting fit?
Take a break
On a small scale, you need to be taking a break from your tasks every few hours. On a day to day basis, it may be just spending five minutes alone to make a cup of tea. Or, taking your lunch outside in the sun. On a bigger scale, you also need to be giving yourself breaks weekly and monthly. Even if you are super busy, find the time and funds to go away for a weekend. It doesn’t have to be far. Just a change of scenery will help. But in order to keep your mind fresh, your motivation sharp and your abilities keen, you need to recharge. Keep going for months on end and eventually, your batteries will run out. When this happens, you aren’t much use to anyone.
Look at your diet
Don’t make life harder for yourself by eating foods that will make you slow and sluggish. Life is much harder when you can’t concentrate for long, or your stomach is bloated, for example. Keep yourself fit with a good diet. Avoid fads, and plans that you simply aren’t going to be able to maintain. Instead, look for balance. A piece of chocolate cake a week is fine! A piece of chocolate cake a day is not fine! A lot of eating healthily is about logic. We all know how important it is to keep our bodies hydrated.
Bank your sleep
In a caregiving role or a career that is very demanding, having a long sleep every night might be tricky. You may have to wake up several times in the night, or even work night shifts. If this is the case, developing a sleeping pattern may be utterly impossible. If this is the case, learn to bank your sleep. When you can rest, make the most of it. Don’t get distracted by your phone or laptop. Close your eyes and wait for sleep to come. Use a homemade lavender pillow spray to help you drift off.