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Self Care for the caregiver

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Self-Care Options

Self-Care For The Caregiver

Caregivers often do not prioritize their own well-being as a priority. Providing financial and emotional support for a loved one can be a considerable burden, and family member may feel frightened, fatigued, lonely, and stressed out. How can families expect their loved ones to be happy, healthy and thriving if they themselves are not practicing self-care? We see burn-out amongst the caregivers too often; FERC strongly supports our families to be self-aware and practice self-preservation.

To provide an appropriate level of care for their loved one, caregivers must also take care of themselves. The idea of self-care may cause some friction with the temptation to go all out in an effort to provide every possible help for the loved one. However, because family support and involvement are crucial, the caregiver must stay in good health for a successful recovery. No one situation fits everyone. Each person’s plan should be tailored to fit the individual situation and resources. Here are a few tips below to help you plan a healthy future.

  • Involvement in activities that have nothing to do with mental health 
  • Walking or hiking
  • Meeting a friend for coffee, lunch or dinner
  • Pick up a new hobby or revisit an old one that you enjoyed
  • Read a book for pleasure
  • Spend a night out at the movies
  • Dancing
  • Bubble bath
  • Cook an old recipe
  • Turn-off your cell phone for 2hrs – “me time”
  • Find meaningful work away from the home
  • Maintain a life of one’s own
  • Share experiences and feelings in a family support group
  • Create a greater balance in one’s life
  • Achieve and maintain physical fitness, regular exercise and good nutrition
  • Acknowledge that you are not the only one who can make a difference
  • Be able to feel the pain, work through it, and become open to other feelings
  • Get support learning to live with the stress that setting limits may cause
  • Advocate for the services the family member with a psychiatric disorder needs
  • Create firm boundaries and know when to say no
  • Help, encourage, and challenge your loved one in their growth
  • Know your limits and do not wait until you are pushed over the edge
  • Focus on what is possible
  • Distance yourself from behaviors that you cannot or should not be trying to change
  • Pay attention to the lives of other family members
  • Know that structure can communicate caring
  • Take one step at a time as the way to attain a long-term goal
  • Accept that whatever one is doing is the best that one can do at this time
  • Join a group or process that supports the exploration and deepening of one’s beliefs and values
  • Identify options before making a decision
  • Celebrate small victories
  • Maintain a realistic hope, setbacks are part of the recovery process
  • Structure and plan to maintain a regular and unstressed schedule
  • Focus on wellness, recovery and hope to create a positive atmosphere for all

Please also check out our support groups and local support groups that offer mutual aid and are free for families.