In the first part of this blog, I wrote about how the value of care between family members is a strong uniting force for many Maltese families. I also introduced a challenge that can be experienced by persons caring for their loved one; which is the difficulty with balancing between the caregiver role and keeping up with other roles that the caregiver occupies in other areas of their life, such as being a parent, being a spouse, and being an employee. This challenge can be a stressful experience for the caregiver, and thus I wished to emphasize the importance of caregiver wellbeing and also share some ideas that may support caregivers with taking care of themselves in the process.
* Taking care of your health
Keeping up with caregiving and the other aspects of your life can make your own wellbeing seem as though it is not a priority. However, realistically, you will not be in a position to care for others if you yourself are unwell or tired. Try and eat a healthy and balanced diet for energy, and rest and sleep so that your body recovers physically and mentally.
* Accepting limits and seeking support
Accept that there is a limit to what you can do, and that it is ok to seek support at certain times and with certain tasks. It might help if you keep a list of persons who would be willing to provide their support should you require help. This list might include other family members, friends, or careworkers. Having people who are willing to support you with your caregiving role could also make it more possible to also keep up with other roles and responsibilities, as well as engaging in activities that are not related to caregiving, such as going out, meeting friends and so on.
* Speaking about your experience
Often, caregivers may feel that they should not burden other people with their feelings since they are not the one who is sick, injured, or requiring care. However, you are also experiencing the impact of the illness, injury or condition, and your experience is also valid and very important. Talking with your loved one, other family members, friends or trusted professionals can help relieve the stresses that come with caregiving.
Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.