A common misconception among caregivers is that they can’t step away from their job because it would make their patients uneasy. This misconception often deters them from basic self-care, and they continue working even at the expense of their health and wellbeing.
The problem is that caregiving often makes it difficult to objectively look at the matter, especially when caring for a loved one. Taking a break often causes immense guilt because you feel bad about practising self-care while your loved one is suffering.
As someone who has been in this position, I want to assure you that there is nothing wrong with self-care. This blog will help you understand why taking a break is vital for being a caregiver.
What is Self-Care?
Firstly, let’s briefly touch upon what self-care is. I want to address it because self-care is a vast domain and represents both minor and major acts. Most people think self-care refers to extravagant actions like shopping sprees, taking an expensive vacation, etc.
While those actions are a part of self-care, simple things like taking a hot and relaxing bath, a trip to the spa, treating yourself to a nice meal are all acts of self-care.
Why Caregivers Need to Take Self-Care Breaks
Caregiving is demanding, and it makes sense for caregivers to take time off periodically to maintain balance. However, the degree of involvement makes it difficult for them to take those breaks. If you are in a similar position, please read the following list to understand why taking a break is important for you.
1. Emotional Burnout
Caregiving is emotionally and physically demanding nearly all the time. Caregivers typically use their training to push the emotional burden to the back of their mind to continue working, but there’s a limit to how many times they can do that.
If you continue pushing your emotional needs away, you will eventually become burnt out. The state will deplete your motivation and make you incapable of continuing to work like you used to.
2. Problems with Mental Health
It would help if you had time to process everything that is happening around you, which is why self-care is critical. Without it, your mental health will collapse, and you may suffer from conditions like depression, insomnia, anxiety.
Something as simple as getting 8 hours of sleep, meditation, or taking a few hours away can help you maintain your health.
3. Stress and Physical Health
Finally, continuing caregiving without self-care will cause stress build-up and affect your physical health. You may develop blood pressure issues, have impaired sleep cycles, or have similar problems if you don’t pay attention to your needs.
In a nutshell, caregiving and self-care go hand in hand, and you cannot let guilt stop you from prioritizing your health and wellbeing. Seek help when you need it and take breaks to avoid overburdening yourself while caring for others.
You can check out my blog for more information about caregiving.