Being a caregiver is definitely not for the weak. We are often the only constant in a care recipients’ life. We develop bonds and become family with those we provide services to.
I always knew I wanted to do something in this line of work. In 2013 I started working with individuals with disabilities and knew that this was my calling. Creating that bond with my clients is just as special to me as it was for them. They were no longer just clients but became my family. When I joined Easterseals in March of 2020, I started to develop strong bonds with those we provide services to, and like before they have become family to me.
Being a caregiver is more than just caring for others. You need to take care of yourself as well. Allow yourself time to relax. Often, we find ourselves wanting to be there for our consumers and giving them all of our attention, but we need to remember that we are not only caregivers to them, but also caregivers to ourselves. Give yourself an outlet, choose a hobby, read a book, take a walk, or have a nice relaxing bath.
Allowing yourself to focus on yourself will give you the strength to continue being that amazing caregiver that you are. Here are some additional things that I have learned that have helped me prioritize my own needs.
- Realize it is okay to take a break
- Understand it is completely acceptable and encouraged to ask for help
- Engage in activities that help keep you centered and help keep you healthy
- A simple walk outside for 5-10 minutes can help you recharge
- Listen to your own emotions and learn from them
- Get proper rest and nutrition
- Know that you are not alone
If we aren’t willing to be caregivers to ourselves, then how are we supposed to be caregivers to others. One outlet I have is crafting. Crafting is my hobby, and I often find myself more relaxed during and after I finish a craft.
Choose what relaxes you and apply it to your day-to-day.