We often talk about ways to improve self-care here at LimbO, we believe it’s an essential part of physical and emotional wellbeing. But often, self-care is focussed on the person that is unwell or undergoing treatment. Carers can be overlooked, but self-care is very important for them too. If you’re a professional or a loved one that has taken on the role of carer, it can be exhausting. It’s essential to take time to recharge your batteries so you don’t suffer from burnout – a very real side effect of being a carer. So take a look at our five top tips to combat chronic stress.
1. Be compassionate with yourself
Not having much time or energy means it’s often difficult to find time for yourself. But being kind to yourself is one of the best things you can do. Try to take time to focus on the good things you do, give yourself credit for your hard work. Often our inner critic is the harshest – so if we can silence that a little, we will start to feel better. And by taking time for yourself, you’ll actually be better prepared to remain calm and focussed in your care-giving to others.
2. Focus on breathing
It doesn’t sound like much, but simple deep breathing techniques can do wonders for helping relaxation. There’s a reason that they’ve been around for hundreds of years! There are lots of guides to breathing on YouTube, why not try this one when you’ve got a spare five minutes? By carving out a small window of time for yourself everyday to practice your breathing technique, you may find that you’re more effective and mindful during your day.
3. Physical practices
This one might be the most difficult to commit to in terms of time commitment. But if you can find time to try a mind-body practice such as yoga, or meditation, you can build your physical strength as well as improving your mental health. You don’t even need to leave your house. The internet is full of free guides to home workouts that can greatly improve your mindset, and help you feel recharged and more positive.
4. Be sociable
When you’re busy being a carer, it can mean you’re low on time, making it difficult to keep arrangements made with other friends or family. But seeing people that care for you is very helpful to prevent burnout. Social connections help us realise we have a support network, rather than feeling isolated and like we’re trying to handle everything on our own. As well as friends and family, often local organisations and hospitals have support groups for caregivers, so why not find out if there is a similar group near you? By taking time to remain socially connected, carers can fight burnout and be in better mental shape to continue giving care.
5. Prioritise yourself
When focussing so much on helping your loved one, it is easy to forget about our own needs. But this shouldn’t be the case. Key things such as getting enough sleep and nutritious food shouldn’t be something that we compromise. Why not try a breathing exercise or a short yoga practice just before going to bed? You might notice an improvement to your sleep, meaning you’ll be better placed to give good care the next day.