Self-Care Tips for Caregivers
Written by Amanda Diekman
*Post sponsored by Verily. Opinions expressed are my own. Learn how you can you get involved in Project Baseline by Verily’s Gut Research Project below*
1. You are not selfish if you put your needs first
As hard as it can be, sometimes you need to take a step back and consider what your mind and body needs. What good will you be to the person you care for, if your mind and body are not feeling its best? For me, that meant asking for help from my father-in-law or my own parents, so that I could get a workout in or even visit my own doctor.
2. Recognize and manage your stress
Life gets hectic for everyone! It seems harder when you’re caring for yourself and another person to juggle the challenges life brings related to family, finances, jobs, etc. It’s important to recognize your warning signs such as irritability, sleep problems, and forgetfulness. When you see the warning signs, try to find solutions to alleviate them. I found that even something as simple as a warm bath or reading my bible after Jake had fallen asleep would help alleviate my stress.
3. Set goals for yourself
It’s so easy for caregivers to focus on their loved one’s future goals and timeline to accomplish them. For Jake, I was always thinking about his own goals for when his next surgery would be or when he would begin a new level of training as he returned to baseball. During those times, I overlooked a lot of my own goals. To avoid this, you can think of goals you would like to accomplish yourself over the next few months and then ask yourself what small steps can you put into action now that will get you closer to those goals.
4. Strive for positive communication
Positive communication is so important but could be so hard when Jake was in his worst moods. Make it a priority to respect each other’s feelings and just be as honest and positive as possible. Instead of saying “You made me angry,” I would say “I feel angry.” That helped Jake understand how I felt without making him feel like I was blaming him. This went both ways. If Jake felt he needed to be alone or needed me there to vent, I wanted him to be straightforward with me.
5. Ask for and accept help
How many times has someone asked if you needed help? I declined so much help at times when I could have really used it. Help can come in a variety of ways – from family, friends, professionals and even organizations like the Gut It Out Foundation! You can get help in person or online. Don’t wait until you feel overwhelmed! Reach out or take help when you can. Have a list prepared of a few things that could free up some of your time such as having someone walk your pet, asking someone to swing by the grocery store for you, or have someone take your car for an oil change.
Project Baseline’s Gut Research Project in collaboration with the Gut It Out Foundation
Join Gut It Out in helping researchers learn more about gut health by participating in Project Baseline’s Gut’s Research Project! Not only can you earn compensation for participating and access to Project Baseline resources, studies and opportunities relevant to Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis.
How to Participate: Participation is easy and entirely online! Sign up and learn more at projectbaseline.com to take a survey about your health history, you may also be asked to upload your electronic health records to a secure online portal, and then you’re set!
What is Project Baseline? An initiative to make it easy and engaging for people to contribute to the map of human health and participate in clinical research.
What is Verily? Verily Life Sciences, also known as Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences), is a research organization devoted to the study of life sciences. Together with researchers, clinicians, engineers, designers, advocates, and volunteers, Verily is collaborating to build the next generation of healthcare tools and services.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.