Private Time: Taking Time for Yourself
Did you know that every November is National Caregiver Appreciation Month? Just as caregivers care for their loved ones, they also need to care for themselves. Without caring for yourself, you cannot provide good care to others. Many studies have shown that caring for yourself is very important.
The following is a list of questions with answers (A) that other caregivers in your situation have found helpful in caring for a loved one with stroke.
Why do people keep telling me what to do?
- People are outside viewers looking in, listen to what they have to say.
- Listen to your friends and family members. Be open to others' observations.
- If someone says, “You should try this” or “You look like you’re getting tired,” be open and receptive to that. Take a second and listen to other people, they may even offer you valuable advice.
What can I do if I am feeling overwhelmed?
A. Let go. Know your limits.
If you begin to notice that, you are feeling run down, STOP! Just stop, think about your events over the last week, and start with a list.
- Are there days that are very busy and could you rearrange some activities?
- Are there times you could go in the other room and just stop and drink a cup of tea?
- Know and recognize when to just stop.
What can I do if I only have five minutes to myself?
Below is a link with relaxation techniques and how to accomplish them.
- Using relaxation techniques can decrease stress, lower the heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and improve sleep.
What are some basic things I should do in my private time?
A. Care for yourself, this is essential before you can care for someone else.
Take care of your health.
- Make and keep regularly scheduled and routine health visits.
- Monitor your blood pressure.
- Be aware of what you are eating (or not eating).
What can I do in my private life out of my caregiver role?
- Have a life outside your caregiver role.
The important thing is taking the time to do things you enjoy on your own.
- Talk to friends on the phone, take time for an afternoon lunch, or go shopping alone.
- If you have time but cannot leave your loved one, read a book, watch your favorite show on T.V, or just engage in something you enjoy.
Who can I talk to for support?
- There are resources available for caregivers in your situation.
It is also good to build rapport with other people who are caregivers in order to have your own caregiver team.
- You can speak with a nurse, physician, social worker, clergy, etc. or find local support groups. Here is a website to assist you with finding local support:
Tid-bit - Many caregivers state that knowing and learning information about the physical, emotional, and mental processes of the person that you are caring for will make your situation less stressful.
McPhee, S.J., & Papadakis, M.A. (2012). Current medical diagnosis & treatment. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Taking care of the caregiver. (2012) Retrieved from http://www.seattlecca.org/taking-care-of-the-caregiver.cfm
Your needs, learning how to relax. (2012) Retrieved from http://www.netofcare.org/content/your_needs/relax.asp
Developed in 2012 by Jenn DelVero, RN BSN, at the University of Toledo for the Caring~Web.