How to Carve Out Time for Yourself as a Family Caregiver
Family caregiving takes a lot of time away from activities and hobbies necessary for physical and mental health. It is important therefore to think of ways to give yourself valuable time, even if it is just for a little bit. Here are some tips:
- Schedule time in an agenda/calendar: Keeping a schedule of activities that you want to do is crucial for actualizing those activities. Keeping a schedule is like setting miniature goals throughout the weeks and months. It also helps keep your busy mind organized since writing it down can help it stay out of your mind until you have to look at your schedule.
- Remember that you can’t be perfect: When you are balancing a lot of activities at once, you may realize that the quality of your efforts may not be the best. This is okay. As long as you are giving it your all, you are likely doing a good job. Being a perfectionist when you are overwhelmed will burn you out. Learn to let the little things go, and you will find that opportunities will open that will allow you to focus on yourself.
- Do activities that make you happy: These activities can include socializing with friends, exercising, listening to music, or pursuing favorite hobbies. Pursuing activities that you enjoy will help you prioritize them because, well, you want to do them! Start thinking about activities you love and write them down into your schedule.
- Learn to say “No” to certain things: In other words, don’t take on everything. Remind yourself of everything that you are doing and remember that you are not being selfish by saying “No.” Use your judgment regarding what you are declining. If there is an emergency, then, of course, you should do your best to help. Bur if something is not an immediate priority, then it is okay to prioritize time for yourself, if you need it.
- Stay away from electronics, emails, and texts: At least, segment out a portion of the day to respond to these things. Or use your judgment as to how quickly you should respond. The point is that you should try to minimize the time you devote to looking at your smart phone, smart watch, computer, etc. because doing so can take time away from yourself. The more you structure your day, the more you might find that you can give yourself an hour here and an hour there.
- Ask for help: Caregiving consumes a lot of time. If you think you need professional assistance to give yourself a little break, then seek it out. Organizations like ElderCare at Home refers trained and licensed caregivers to meet your needs. Even if it is just for a few hours a week, it can make a big difference.
ElderCare at Home understands the demands of family caregiving. If you have questions then please call 888-285-0093 or visit our website.