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Keys to Caring for Yourself

Updated: May 19, 2020

It‘s one thing to gear up for a short-term crisis. But it takes different skills to provide care over a longer period of time. You’ll be more successful if you learn to take care of yourself, starting immediately. Some things to remember:

  • You have a right to all of your emotions (See FCA Fact Sheet Emotional Side of Caregiving.)

  • Depression is the most common emotion of long-term caregivers

  • Set realistic expectations—for yourself and your loved one

  • Learn about the disease and what you can expect

  • Learn the skills you need to care for the care receiver and which ones you are or are not able to perform

  • Learn to say “no” to things you cannot do

  • Learn to accept help from others

  • Build resilience

  • Identify your button-pushers/stressors

  • Identify your coping skills

  • Remember the big three for successful coping:

  • Eat right—good nutrition as opposed to stress-snacking. Limit alcohol and other drugs

  • Exercise—it may be hard to find time but it’s the best cure for depression and increases your endorphins (“good” coping hormones)

  • Sleep—7-8 hours is hard to get, but essential. Admit when you are experiencing burnout and get help

Most importantly, remember that taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of someone else. Sign up for more self-care resources at CaregiverLife

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