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As a caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed by your loved one’s condition. You may be handling difficult emotions, more responsibility, and a lot of information to learn. This constant stress can build up over time, making you feel tense or sad.
It’s natural for caregivers to put their own needs aside and focus all their attention on their loved one. But taking care of yourself is not selfish. In fact, it can help you be a better caregiver. Just think of what you would tell someone who’s a caregiver like you: you’d encourage them to practice self-care, right?
Here are some tips for taking care of yourself:
Taking time to relax can be a good way to manage the challenges of everyday life and the challenges of caring for someone with metastatic melanoma.
When it comes to relaxing, sometimes it’s easier said than done. But just like anything else, relaxation is a skill that we can learn by practicing it. The trick is to give a few things a try and see what works best for you.
There are lots of ways to relax. Some ways are designed to relax your mind, and some focus on relaxing your body. But because mind and body are connected, many methods help relax both. Here are a few you can try.
Aim to schedule at least one relaxing activity every day. Most of these activities take as little as 15 minutes to do. But why stop there? If you continue longer, your mind and your body will thank you for it!
It’s important to pace yourself throughout the day. Pacing is about finding a balance between times of activity and times of rest. Resting is important because it gives your body time to repair and recover. Even when your daily life is keeping you busy, remember that taking a break may help you do more over the long term.
Pacing is also important when you’re feeling fatigued or out of energy, which is common among caregivers. When you feel very tired, being active is often the last thing you want to do. When you feel that way, try these tips for pacing yourself:
Caregiving can be very stressful. If you don’t take care of yourself, you could experience burnout. A caregiver who is burned out is physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted from the stress and burden of caring for their loved one.6 Caregivers who are burned out may have fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression. Below are some tips to help you prevent caregiver burnout:
Bottom line: Don’t try to do it all alone. Build a support network and ask for help when you need it.