If you’ve taken on the heroic responsibility of providing care for a loved one that needs extra support for their health, you’ve probably sacrificed a lot. During this difficult time, it’s common to feel an array of emotions including anger, guilt, and complete exhaustion while dealing with the stresses of daily life and the added challenges that come with a loved one needing home health care. While it can be easy to prioritize others’ needs before your own, it’s crucial to take the time to care for yourself. This can be challenging for compassionate individuals, but self-care and managing stress will not only help you feel better, but will allow you to be a more productive and positive caretaker, friend, and family member.
Accept Outside Help
Accepting help from others can feel like one of the hardest things to do, but it will make your life significantly easier. You may feel comfortable doing things a certain way but managing all of it on your own is going to take its toll on you. If someone offers to help out around the home, cook dinner, or quiz your kids on their homework, give them a chance. If a person is offering to help, they do not see you as a burden and they will be glad to support you and your loved ones.
Relax Your Standards
Leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight, every once in a while, isn’t the end of the world. With so much going on, there is no need to pile on extra stress by worrying about every chore that needs to get done. It can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, so be gentle with yourself and know that you are doing the best you can.
Trust Your Home Health Care Nurse
Welcoming a new person into your home can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that the nurse is there to support you and your loved one. Until now, you’ve had to shoulder the responsibility of all medical care for your loved one, but now you have a professional to take the majority of that work from you. You can discuss expectations with the nurse and ask questions if you’re worried about your loved one’s well-being. But once you are able to fully trust the home health care nurse, you can relax knowing your loved one is in good hands.
Schedule Time for Self-Care
You need and deserve to take a break sometimes. If you’re finding it difficult to make time for yourself, put time in your calendar and commit to it as if it were an appointment you made months ago. Take a bath, read a book, go for a walk, or do anything you enjoy and try not to ruminate on worries or chores that need to be done. Even something as simple as closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths can help calm your system and allow you to focus better. Prioritizing time for yourself to relax will ultimately allow yourself to be more present for others.
Focus on the Good
Maybe your loved one is making strides in care, held your hand, or simply fell asleep with the sun shining through the window. Take in these moments and appreciate the good that’s happening. Thinking about your loved one’s smile or laugh may be the heartwarming thought that allows your shoulders to relax. Don’t start Googling all the things that could go wrong and try to steer clear of negative news articles or stories. Surrounding yourself with positivity and gratitude will help lift your spirit.
You and your loved one have a special bond, so it may be hard to accept that home health care is needed. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed, but it’s important to take care of yourself as you’re caring for your loved one. Check in with yourself, take a break when needed, and remind yourself of all the good you are doing.