We get so caught up in caring for others that we don't attend to our own needs, especially when we are providing care for a loved one. Being a family caregiver, we often sacrifice ourselves for their sake, often putting their needs ahead of our own. We usually justify it with something along the lines of "they took care of me and now I must take care of them." Though this is very noble, it's a position that we must take with a measure of moderation. It's hard to walk away and take a moment to yourself while someone you love depends on you. Just ask yourself: "How can I give them the love and attention they need when I am falling apart, myself?"
It is important that you make a conscious effort to take care of yourself. You may feel guilty or feel bad for not being their for your loved one at first but you will understand that it's absolutely necessary in order to care for them as well. If you follow these simple steps, you will feel less stressed and more energetic which will, in turn, have a positive impact on those who rely on you.
I would love to hear any other ideas you may have for caring for yourself. Feel free to tweet me at @HarmsWayChad.
Chad Pickens is the Director of Community Outreach at Cedarbrook Memory Care Community in Fresno, CA. He is also a family caregiver to his grandmother, Merilyn.
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