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Do you ever feel like you’re constantly running around or working on a to-do list? Is your time occupied by looking after others? Do you find it hard to put yourself first sometimes? When you’re responsible for others, it’s very easy to lose sight of the importance of caring for yourself. If you have children or you care for members of your family, hopefully, you’ll find this guide useful.
Taking time out
Parenting is a 24-hour job, and if you have children who require constant support, there may be times when it seems impossible to enjoy a moment to yourself. Of course, as a loving parent, you always want to do the best for your kids, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of your health and wellbeing. From time to time, it’s so beneficial to take a few moments to rest, relax and recover. If you’re on the go all the time, you’re not sleeping, or your mind is devoted to thinking about others, this can take its toll on both your physical and mental health. Everybody needs those rest periods when they can switch off. If you don’t have much time to yourself because you’re caring for kids or you have elderly relatives who depend on you, work with others around you to try and find a solution that works for everyone. If you trust close friends, siblings or your parents to babysit, don’t hesitate to ask if you’d appreciate an evening off once or twice a month. When you do have time just to kick back and chill out, make sure you use it wisely. Don’t start vacuuming or mopping floors or worrying about what the kids have got to do when they get home. Just take it easy for an hour or so and let yourself relax.
Using your support system
If you’re a fan of literature, it’s likely that you’ve come across the quote, ‘no man is an island.’ As humans, we are inherently dependent on others, and just as people rely on you, it’s perfectly fine to rely on others from time to time too. Make use of the support system and the network of friends and family members you have around you. Don’t be afraid that you’re burdening your sister or your best friend if you ask for a favor if you’re craving an hour to yourself. Reach out to the people closest to you and use their love and support to get by. Having people around you isn’t just beneficial when it comes to getting a sitter for a night or ensuring that somebody is looking after your mom and dad. It’s also important for your self-esteem and your wellbeing. Friends and family can cheer you up if you’re feeling down, offer a shoulder to cry on and be around to help you have fun and make memories. You should never be afraid to lean on people. If the shoe were on the other foot, you’d probably do the same for them in a second.
Asking for help
Do you ever feel like you simply can’t cope? Do you worry all the time that you’re not doing a good job or do you feel like you’re climbing an increasingly steep mountain? If you’re swimming against the tide, this can be exhausting. If you are struggling, don’t hesitate to ask for help. There is support out there, and there may be options worth considering that could benefit you and those you care for.
Consider the example of looking after elderly parents. If you’re anxious about leaving your mom or dad at home because you’re worried that they will fall or get lonely, think about the options open to you. It’s increasingly common for people to take their parents into their own home, but if this isn’t a viable solution, assisted living options may represent a better choice. This way, your parents can benefit from the care and support they need, they can enjoy companionship, and you’ll have peace of mind that they are safe and sound. Finding practical solutions can often help to alleviate stress and anxiety, which in turn, can aid sleep and make you feel better. If you’re suffering from stress or you don’t know what kinds of options are open to you to help you care for aging relatives or children with autism, for example, speak to health professionals, do some research online and contact non-profit organizations.
If you’re a parent or you look after one of your parents, a grandparent or a sibling, there’s every chance that you put a lot of time and effort into making sure that person is as healthy and happy as possible. While it’s incredibly important to do this, it’s also essential to consider your health and wellbeing. Try and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, be active and keep in touch with your doctor. Go to routine appointments and checks and don’t wait to see somebody if you’re unwell. Your physical health should not be your only concern. Mental health is equally important, so try and work on this. Give yourself a break, try stress and anxiety management techniques and speak to people you trust about the way you feel. If you can’t open up to friends or relatives, therapy can be really useful. Often, saying what’s on your mind and getting things off your chest can make a difference instantly.
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Do you spend most of your time looking after other people? Do you come bottom of the list? If you have children or aging relatives, it can be tough for find time for yourself, and often, their wellbeing and happiness comes at a cost. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Make use of the network you have around you and don’t feel guilty if you need half an hour to yourself. Focus on your own health and happiness as well as that of those in your care and reach out to professionals, friends and organizations that could help to make life that little bit more manageable.