· By PYM STORE
A Guide to Self-Care for Caregivers
Caring for a loved one can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it can also be incredibly stressful and emotionally and physically draining.
Studies have shown that caregivers are 49% more likely to be diagnosed with depression, and are at a higher risk for anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, and other health issues due to the chronic stress and emotional strain of caregiving.
Caregivers are also less likely than non-caregivers to engage in self-care activities, putting them at higher risk for caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that results from prolonged stress and strain.
Check out our free Self-Care for Caregivers guide!
Why self-care is especially important for caregivers
Self-care is not just a fluffy buzzword. It is truly an investment in your long-term health. It also helps you to be able to provide more quality care for your loved one.
An alarming fact this study found is that if you are a caregiving spouse between the ages of 66 and 96 and are experiencing mental or emotional strain, you have a risk of dying that is 63% higher than that of people your age who are not caregivers.
You deserve to and NEED to take time for yourself!
Signs and Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout
Wondering if you are burnt out as a caregiver?
Some common physical symptoms of burn out that caregivers may experience include:
- Muscle tension
- Digestive problems
- Sleep problems
- Lack of appetite or overeating
- Back, neck or shoulder pain
- Weakened immune system
Common emotional challenges include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- A sense of isolation and loneliness
- Loss of identity as your own needs and interests take a backseat to the demands of caregiving
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to prioritize your health and needs as soon as possible.
Self Care for Caregivers: Three Tips
Identify Mindset Barriers
There may be some subconscious thought patterns and beliefs getting in the way of you practicing self-care. Thoughts like:
- If I don’t do it, no one else will
- If I want it done right, I have to do it myself
- I have no one to ask for help
- It would be selfish of me to put my needs first
- I promised my father I would always take care of my mother
Take time to sit quietly with a journal and pen and see what other thoughts or beliefs may get in the way of you practicing self-care, and see if you can play Devil’s advocate.
How can you build a case to support the fact that you should take time for yourself?
Ask for and accept help
When people ask if they can help you, how often do you say “thank you, I’m fine” because you don’t want to burden them?
The trick is to know what specific tasks you need help with. For example, someone could take the person you care for for a 15 min walk three times a week, or your neighbor could pick up a few groceries for you from the store.
We go more into detail about how to do this in our free Self-Care for Caregivers Guide!
Increase your stress resilience
Get the free guide + discount!
Download our free, complete guide on self-care for caregivers and get 15% off any product in our store! You will learn:
- How to find time for self-care with a busy schedule
- How to ask for help and find support
- Mind-body relaxation techniques for caregivers
- What to do when you've reached a breaking point
- The best foods for your mood
- The best supplements for brain health and mental wellness