Wellbeing: Self-care while caring for loved ones |27 September 2021
Caring for someone we love who has a long-term illness or disability can be stressful, but various strategies can help in preventing caregiver burnout.
Seychelles NATION spoke to a few locals about this, to share with us the self-care strategies that they are implementing while caring long-term for a loved one – strategies which they find are helping them to simultaneously manage their own mental and physical health.
Learn to accept help from others
I thought about what I needed most, I made a list of all the ways in which other people like family and friends can help me, I asked them what they want to do / can do from this list, and I accepted all the help I could get.
You can, for example, ask your family and friends to help you with cleaning the house, going grocery shopping, cooking meals, or watching over your loved one a couple of hours a week so you can get a break.
Share your thoughts & feelings
I often talk to family or friends who I trust about what I am going through, about my thoughts and feelings, and although this does not change my reality, just being able to share these with someone else feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I realise that I am not alone, that there are people who are there for me, and this helps me greatly to manage my feelings.
The important thing is to make time to do this regularly and to talk to someone you trust and feel you can be open with about your feelings.
Make time to do what you love
Photo source: Care Academy
Doing what I love to do makes me happy and I feel that this feeds back into my mental, physical and emotional health. It is important therefore that I think about the different things I love to do and make it a priority, despite a fuller timetable, to set aside a bit of time every week to do these.
Think of even the small ways in which you can take some time for yourself, like going for walks, spending a bit of time with other family and friends, journaling at a café, or reading a book out in nature.
Be grateful for the good things
During challenging times like this, I have often found myself thinking only about the problems and easily forgetting that there are good things in my life as well. I took some advice I read about which is to think about three things I am grateful for in my life, and to do this on a daily basis as much as possible. I find this really helps me to remain positive and that it contributes to my overall well-being.
We can be grateful for even the smaller things in our lives like having a pet to keep us company, having ways to communicate with loved ones, having hobbies that we love like painting or listening to music, supportive family and friends, or the nature that surrounds us.