Self-Care for the Caregiver: 3 Tips

“Loss that falls short of death is complicated.” Lee Woodruff made this poignant observation in an article written for the AARP. In 2006, Lee’s husband Bob was an ABC correspondent in Iraq when his truck hit a roadside bomb. As a result, he suffered a traumatic brain injury that upended both his life and Lee’s.

When your loved one endures a traumatic injury like this, there is loss and grief, even if they survive. Their life is not the same – and neither is yours. Being thrust into the role of caregiver can feel overwhelming, exhausting, and even, unfair. It may be hard to accept the shift in relationship and added responsibilities.

Here are three tips for caring for yourself during this difficult transition.

#1: Build a Support System

Just because you’re the primary caregiver does not means you have to be the sole caregiver. Even delegating small tasks may ease the burden off your shoulders. Think of putting a team in place.

For instance, who in your circle of family or friends may be able to:

  • Run errands, such as picking up groceries or prescription drugs?
  • Help with home maintenance or car repairs?
  • Take the dog for a daily walk?
  • Give you a few hours to catch up on sleep or get out of the house?

If you’re able to do so, another option to consider is hiring nursing or caregiving support. You might find a level of stress eased in knowing that others are capable of lending support and often, happy to help in tangible ways.

#2: Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Everything’s harder when you’re chronically sleep-deprived. When you get adequate sleep, your mood is more stable and you’re better able to focus on the task at hand.

If you’re struggling with sleep, consider what steps you could take. There may be simple strategies, such as asking for help with tasks (see tip #1) so you can get to bed earlier. You might also want to talk to your doctor about short-term solutions to aid in getting to sleep faster.

#3: Process your Feelings

Chances are you became a caregiver in an instant. It’s hard to imagine that your once-healthy loved one could suddenly end up severely burned or paralyzed with a severed spinal cord. But your loved one isn’t the only one who endured a catastrophically life-altering event: you have too.

It’s healthy and necessary to create safe places to process all your feelings. Otherwise, those feelings can spill over into your ability to care for your loved one.

Some outlets for voicing your feelings could include:

  • Trusted friends and family members: Identify that friend or family member who can sit with you and listen without feeling the need to give advice or give you a “pep” talk.
  • It may be beneficial to have a professional therapist help you untangle the many emotions, thoughts, and questions running through your mind.
  • Sometimes the act of putting your thoughts to paper can be cathartic.
  • Other caregivers: As humans, we can take solace in knowing that we’re not alone. Seeking support groups of other caregivers or talking to a friend who’s on a similar path may lend perspective.

The important part is that it’s important to acknowledge and be honest with your feelings during this time.

Why Compassionate Legal Help Matters

If you’ve not taken the time to reach out to a personal injury lawyer on behalf of your loved one, could we encourage you to do that? Our family-owned firm has decades of experience helping walk families through traumatic times in their lives.

We can assist by taking the legal stress off your plate – like handling phone calls, filing paperwork, and advocating on your loved one’s behalf. We may also have resources, contacts, and ideas for helping you build your support system. At Ladenburg Law, we strive to treat every person that walks through the door like family. Please feel free to call and ask to schedule a free case evaluation about your case.

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