10 Self-Care Tips for Child Care Providers
Caring for yourself is one of the most important – and often one of the most forgotten – things you can do as a caregiver of children. Often, caregivers of children are family members who add unpaid caregiving to their list of many responsibilities. These demands can become very stressful for caregivers who usually put others before themselves. However, only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others. By staying resilient and healthy, caregivers can provide care to his or her full potential. BrightStar Care of Mid-Missouri would like to help you help yourself, so we can all provide better care for our loved ones.
1) Take a break
It’s hard to catch a break while caring for children, but you deserve one. Breaks can give you a chance to reduce stress, restore energy and keep your life in balance. Whether it is a weeklong vacation or a 30-minute yoga session, caregivers must take time to regroup. BrightStar Care of Mid-Missouri offers respite care for caregivers seeking occasional relief from their responsibilities. Our trained, insured and bonded BrightStar caregivers will plan activities for the child that will be both stimulating and enjoyable. We can provide any level of companionship you desire to achieve a quality of life you need.
2) Stay on top of your physical health
It is easy to forget about your own health while caring for children. Schedule regular appointments with your physician. Eat nutritious meals, and don’t give into stress-driven urges for sweets or quick, unhealthy meals. Consider feeding and caring for yourself as you would the child. Find time to exercise, and reward your body with the treatment it deserves. If at any time you experience symptoms of depression, seek professional help immediately.
3) Set health goals
One way to stay on top of your physical health is by setting manageable and realistic health goals. Make a habit out of doing a certain exercise or eating a healthy snack once a day. Talk to your physician or health care provider about aspects of your health that could be improved, and set goals on how to get there. You will start feeling better physically and mentally as you reach goals and stay fit.
Most people understand how essential sleep is for a person’s health and wellbeing. Yet it’s easy for sleep to become secondary for a caregiver. Caregiver stress, time restraints, and much more can contribute to sleeping problems. However, the benefits of sleep are undeniable, and without it caregiver energy, health and stamina can be affected. If you are experiencing sleeping problems, try and find what it is that’s keeping you up. Try new sleeping schedules or regimes, or consult your physician for advice.
5) Stop feeling guilty
Whether you are a family caregiver or not, having a life outside of the child or children you care for can be difficult. It’s common to feel guilty about being away or attending to your own life when you play such a large role in the life of someone else. Remind yourself that you a loving and caring individual, but you must also care for yourself. You can only do the best you can do. Cut yourself some slack, and enjoy your life.
6) Get yourself organized
Falling behind in your own work and responsibilities can cause extra stress. Organize your personal priorities, and try to stay on top of your tasks on a daily basis. The more organized your life is, the more time you can focus your attention of the child you are caring for.
7) Stay positive
Count your blessings instead of sheep. You will find yourself living a happier and more fulfilling life. Caregiving can hold many challenges, but with it comes great reward. As a caregiver, you provide one of the greatest gifts of all to the person you are caring for. If you bring positivity and gratitude into your life, you will find gifts during even the most difficult times.
8) Find social support
Isolation can increase stress. Getting together regularly with friends and other social groups can help you relax and keep negative stress and energy away. It’s important to find others you can talk to about caregiving as well. Share your experiences and learn from one another’s challenges.
9) Reward yourself
Being a caregiver can be extremely challenging, but it is one of the most selfless and compassionate jobs. Give yourself a pat on the back, and appreciate yourself for a change. Whether it’s a fun trip or a tasty dessert, occasionally stop and reward yourself for all your hard work.
10) Don't be afraid to ask for help
It’s hard enough caring for yourself and another person. Ask for help AND accept it when you need it. More than likely, most people will be just as willing to help as you are. There are many caregiver resources available if you ever need a break from caregiving. There is no shame in needing help. It’s out there for you, you just have to ask for it. If you or a loved one is seeking relief from caregiving, we offer flexible sick-day childcare, sitter services and pediatric home care, including a wide range of home care services for children with special needs. Our clinical caregivers are experts in well-baby and newborn care. Our in-hospital companions give family caregivers a respite break and peace of mind that their child is being looked after when in the hospital. Let the BrightStar family care for yours. Call BrightStar of Mid Missouri at (573) 777-9222 today.