As the saying goes, you can’t truly care for others if you’re not taking care of you first, but many times, that can be much easier said than done.
During the 2021 ESSENCE Wellness House: You Are What You Think, Licensed Trauma Psychologist Mariel Buqué, Ph.D. shared a few tips for caregivers to keep in mind as they work to balance their own self-care practices with caring for loved ones.
Scroll through to check out seven things we learned from Dr. Buque and then watch the video above
to see the full session. For more of everything you missed at ESSENCE Wellness House, click HERE.
The 2021 ESSENCE Wellness House is sponsored by Tropicana, TV One and WW.
Know That Caregivers Come In Many Different Forms. Are You One?
“When you think of the word caretaker, you might be thinking of somebody that’s taking care of another person that usually is like, physically ill. But, it can also mean that somebody is mentally ill or has mental health difficulties. It can mean that you’re taking care of a child, maybe you’re taking care of your own parents, maybe you’re taking care of somebody’s financial burdens, or maybe you’re helping someone through a difficult time.”
Give Yourself Credit For Doing A Good Job As A Caregiver
“Giving yourself an opportunity to feel that pat on the back for a job well-done, especially when you meet the expectations that you have for yourself as a caregiver, is so important. You don’t want to bypass the moment, you want to actually affirm the moment and reinforce that message that you’re doing a good job. Little ways in which you can actually affirm yourself can be actually practicing a mantra for yourself when you do a good job, or it can be something like buying yourself flowers.”
“Allow for people to actually show up for you and come through for you in whatever way it is that you need. However, if there are specific ways that you feel like you would like to be helped, or if there are specific needs that you actually have your yourself, then asking for the help and allowing yourself to receiving the help is going to be a really important aspect of you caring for somebody else.”
“Allow yourself to establish the boundaries that are going to be able to keep you sane and keep you healthy as you care for somebody else.”
Recognize The Signs Of Caregiver Burnout
“Caring for somebody, especially on a long-term basis, means that you can become very vulnerable to some emotional stressors. That specifically includes feeling more irritable, feeling sad, or feeling helpless, especially when you’re caring for somebody and you’re not seeing a lot of change in their condition or their situation. It can mean that you are losing sleep or that you are veering in the direction of having unhealthy coping skills. These are just some of the basic baseline things that can happen when you’re a caretaker that is experiencing burnout.”
Set Aside Time For Your Own Self-Care
“You’re not going to be able to show up for them in the ways that they need and in the ways that you need to show up for them, if you’re actually feeling depleted and if you’re feeling like you’re constantly worn out. So, it’s going to be really important for you to factor in self-care practices, especially at the top of your day, before you care for somebody and before you’re actually feeling exhausted.”