Caring for an individual with disabilities, although rewarding, can be stressful. Sometimes, taking a step back and allowing a moment of rest for yourself is necessary. Practicing self-care can often positively impact your loved one, as well. In this blog, we’ll discuss good self-care practices such as:
When you’re spending a lot of time caring for someone else and trying to ensure that they get to participate in their hobbies and other activities, it’s easy to forget about your own passions. Maybe you used to enter baking competitions or go to dance classes on the weekends and haven’t participated in awhile. Making time for activities that bring you joy will allow you to relax and recharge. The more balanced you feel in your own life, the better you will be at protecting, nurturing, and advocating for your loved one. Some hobbies you could start or pick back up include:
You may have the intent to take a few minutes of alone time each day to recharge — however, we know how often caregiving can end up taking up those few important minutes of your day. Scheduling your alone time is the best way to ensure that it won’t get pushed aside. A good way to make sure your family members, partner, and others involved in your life know that this time is set aside for you to be alone is to share this event with them on Google calendar, or send a reminder text before your allotted time begins. A few self-care practices that would be good to try during your alone time are:
It’s important to remember that when it comes to caretaking, you are not alone — there are others who know the joys and struggles of caring for a disabled loved one. There will be members of the caregiver community that have more years of experience and would love to share knowledge with you, and some who are in the same spot as you that just need a friend. Reach out to others and look for support groups where you can interact with caregivers that will encourage you in your efforts.
Asking for help and support will help you feel seen and connected, provide relief, and will give you access to expertise and knowledge from others in a similar situation. A few support groups you could explore include:
There are also many different support groups out there that are more specific to your loved one’s diagnosis that can offer help, support, and other resources.
Therapy is one of the most important acts of self-care a caretaker can practice. Having a professional help you process your emotions in a healthy way and provide you with new tools to deal with anger, frustration, and burnout is the best way to take care of your mental health.
Finding a therapist that knows how difficult, yet rewarding, your specific situation is can help lift a weight off your shoulders — they understand what you’re going through, and want to see you succeed. Processing your feelings on a regular basis also allows you to stay focused on the positive aspects of caring for your loved one, and keeps your relationship with them from being strained.
Looking for a place where your loved one with an intellectual or developmental disability will not only be taken care of, but flourish? The Baddour Center is dedicated to providing a model residential community for adults with intellectual disabilities and autism in an environment that promotes maximum growth intellectually, spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally and vocationally. Contact us today to learn more about our facility’s culture and schedule a tour!