Tips for Caregivers: Making Time for Yourself

We all know that devoting some time for ourselves, whether it’s getting more rest or doing something we absolutely love to do, can be beneficial. It doesn’t only benefit our own health and well-being, but it positively affects those around us, too. As caregivers, it’s important to take time for ourselves because we end up being happier and more positive, influencing the care we give and the people we love. Do you sometimes feel there’s not enough time in the day for yourself? Here are some tips based on an article from Caring.com to help you re-evaluate your schedule and start the new year off right.

Take Time for Yourself by Scheduling it. Treat the time for yourself like any other appointment you need to make and schedule it! Just like scheduling a trip to the doctor, schedule 15, 30, 60 minutes a day for yourself. Whether it’s catching up on the latest news or meditation, do something you love. If you can, schedule a larger amount of time each week for something more indulgent, like a pedicure or massage. Even a walk on the gym’s track will rejuvenate you and make you feel better overall.

Just say “No”. The opposite of the “Just Do It” slogan, as a caregiver we often feel that saying “no” means we’ve failed or let someone down. In reality, saying “no” can be quite healthy and liberating. When you are a main caregiver for a loved one, it’s okay to be especially protective of any extra time you may have to take care of yourself. If you never say “no” to people asking for help or your time, you’ll find it’s harder to take the much-needed time for yourself. The more you say “no”, the easier it becomes! Practice makes perfect.

Delegate. This simple, 8-letter word really packs some power! Delegating work that you don’t need to do or sharing the load with others can really open up some free time in your schedule. Caregiving should really be a family-wide effort. Have a family member make dinner one night a week or post a chore schedule that everyone can see. Some caregivers “over-help”, doing things for their loved one that they can still do on their own. Some common household chores, like laundry and doing dishes, can sometimes still be done by your loved one and offers them a sense of responsibility, making them feel like they can still contribute.

Streamline the day-to-day activities. Take a look at your schedule and try to figure out what you might be able to streamline. For example, routine tasks may be able to be re-evaluated, so they take less time. Do you still write paper checks when paying bills? Maybe begin paying bills online, either for yourself or your loved one. Other activities, like making dinners for the week on Sunday nights or scheduling doctor appointments in the morning (offering less chances for increased waiting room times due to back-ups) will free up time overall. It’s also recommended that you do your least favorite task early in the day when you have more energy, not dreading it all day long.

Buy time. None of us can do it all without some help. Outsourcing tasks can be a wonderful investment to make when you are a caregiver. Whether it’s hiring someone to clean your house or investing in a neighborhood kid to run errands or do yard work, there are options available for caregivers. Many local churches and organizations offer services, too. You just need to ask. And many times, those services are free or at a low cost. Many professional caregivers do a wonderful job at stepping in and helping. If you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, hiring someone to help is a priceless alternative.

Taking a break from any job, whether it’s your 9-5 desk job or being a caregiver for a loved one, is crucial to your health and to your sanity. If you have questions about Family Hospice and what we can do to help, please just give us a call at (618) 277-1800. You can also find us online at https://familyhospice.org/.

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