Round the clock care for someone who is terminally sick, or dependent can be very tiring on the caregiver. Unfortunately, as much as rewarding caring for someone you love can be, it can leave the carer experiencing fatigue, poorer mental health and lower levels of life satisfaction. Therefore, it is important to take good care of oneself, before helping others. There is a saying which goes: “you cannot pour from an empty cup”, hence, your cup needs to be full before filling other’s cup; i.e taking care of yourself first.
In this blog, I will provide some tips that can help you keep your cup full, or if it’s almost empty, help you refill your cup. Even though your schedule is probably filled up with appointments, routine to follow and other necessary work for your loved one, it is important to find some time daily/ weekly for yourself too.
- Keeping hydrated, especially in hot weather is important, therefore drinking lots of water can help you stay hydrated. This tip is pretty obvious, but constantly caring for someone can distract us from simple things such as forgetting to drink!
- Another helpful tip is to remember to eat your daily meals. Even though you might not have enough time to cook a 3-course meal, it is very advisable to take care of your nutrition. Food gives us energy, and caring for someone requires a lot of energy. Foods that provide high levels of energy include banana, apples, brown rice, eggs, avocados and dark chocolate amongst others.
- Caring might also be required during the night, however, your average hours of sleep are also important. Sleep deprivation brings along headaches, pain and fatigue. If your loved one might require intensive care during the night, consider hiring a volunteer or asking another family member to attend to your loved one during the night so that you get your hours of sleep.
- Probably, you would not have time to go to the gym, or attend any yoga classes due to needing to be by your loved one’s side most of the time, however, you can still stretch and practice some exercises from home. Thankfully, the internet can provide various guides on doing yoga, zumba, pilates, meditation at home. Therefore, finding 10-15 minutes in the morning and/ or in the evening can be very helpful, not only for your blood circulation but also for your mental wellbeing.
- Putting on your favourite music whilst for example, having a shower or doing the dishes can help you also relax. Music has proven to be beneficial for relaxation. Being relaxed leads to having a more positive mood, and therefore can attend better to the needs of your loved one.
- Probably, you have also stopped practising your hobbies all together to care for your loved one. Is there a way to keep practising your hobbies? As it is good for you to keep you going and distract yourself from your caring responsibilities. If you do not have time, what about asking another family member to stay with your loved one for a couple of hours so that you can go and practice your hobby in the meantime? Or else meet up or catch up with friends over a cup of coffee.
- Most countries provide some sort of support to the carers such as helplines, relievers, cleaners etc. Therefore, researching a bit about the help that is available in your country can be beneficial to help relieve you from some duties.
I just want to remind you that caring for someone can be a golden noble act and very beneficial to our society, however it is also important to care for oneself before. Filling your cup full can help you provide optimal caring without tiring yourself out.
Danica Cassar has recently graduated in Bachelor of Psychology. She works as a triage officer at Willingness. You can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org.