Exercise 8: Taking care of the caregiver

If you work in a care-giving profession (and that certainly includes being a family member!), you’ll need to recharge your batteries so you have enough energy available to give to others. Give yourself permission to meet your own needs, recognizing that this will not only enhance your quality of life, it will also enhance your ability to be there for those that rely on you. For instance, you might listen to relaxing music, take a yoga class, hang out with a friend for an evening, or get a massage.

Of course, sometime our time is limited and we aren’t able to take care of ourselves as much as we’d like. Also, one limitation of self-care strategies is that they’re “off the job,” and can’t be done while you’re actually caregiving. Thus, it’s important to also engage in “on the job” self care. When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed when with the person you’re caring for, you might try giving yourself soothing words of support (for example “I know this is hard right now, and it’s only natural you’re feeling so stressed. I’m here for you.”). Or else you might try using soothing touch or the self-compassion break. This will allow you to keep your heart open, and help you care for and nurture yourself at the same time you’re caring for and nurturing others.

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One of the kindest things you can do for another is to give them the gift of self-compassion.

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