February 15, 2022

Supporting Self-Care For Family Caregivers

Self-care is critical for helping family caregivers avoid burnout.

It’s like flight attendants say before takeoff: You’ve gotta put the oxygen mask on yourself before you fasten a mask onto your neighbor — even if the person beside you is your child, spouse, or loved one.

Unfortunately, prioritizing self-care can be a challenge for caregivers. They’re often hyper-focused on their loved ones. They may also feel isolated, making them hesitant to ask for help.

If you know any caregivers, you might be wondering how you can make their lives easier. The key is taking the initiative to help them make space for self-care. In this way, your role as their support system is just as important as theirs.

We created this guide for friends and family of caregivers. It’s full of practical ways for reducing caregiver stress so they can fill their cup and find balance in their schedule. Read on to learn how to put caregiver self-care support in motion!

6 Ways To Provide Caregiver Support

Lightening a caregiver’s load can look a lot of different ways. These six simple ideas will help you create a plan that works for you, the caregiver, and everyone else involved.

1. Make Yourself Available

People might hesitate to ask for support if it seems like everyone around them is busy all the time.

Stopping by, texting, or calling to say you’re free and happy to help can relieve the stress associated with asking for help.

Setting a designated time to step in can also eliminate that pressure. For instance, you might offer to come over and manage things on Thursday evenings. If they know when to expect support, they can schedule their personal time then.

Having designated help is especially valuable at family gatherings, like holidays and weddings. When the family decides who will tag-team responsibilities at these events, the caregiver can enjoy the occasion, too.

2. Ask Where & How Help Is Needed

Everyone needs a hand sometimes, but — for various reasons — some people are particular about how they like to receive it.

It might not be practical or safe for caregivers to pass off tasks they’re specially trained to do. There may also be things the person they’re caring for prefers their assistance with.

Assuming you can help with everything might end up making more work and stress for the caregiver if you make a mistake.

Instead, ask how you can best help to reduce friction for everyone involved. And if you aren’t the best person for the job, reach out to others in the support network to fill the gap — which brings us to another great way to alleviate stress for caregivers.

3. Define The Support Network

Collaborate with the caregiver to create a list of people he or she can call when reinforcements are in order. Kinda like an emergency list, but for when a frazzled caregiver needs a time out.

You can take this one step further and note areas of expertise and availability. Maybe your Aunt Gina loves to cook and doesn’t mind helping with dinner on-the-fly, or perhaps a relative can assist with transportation to medical appointments.

All these tidbits add up in a big way.

4. Simply Listen

Caregivers may find themselves juggling a wide range of emotions on any given day. Everything from anger, resentment, grief, and guilt are common for people caring for family members.

You may not fully understand everything they’re going through, but you can recognize their feelings and let them know you’re here for them. Simply having time and space to vent can be a form of self-care in itself.

When they’re letting off steam, hold back any judgment or advice. Let this be their time to let it all out! Tears, shouting, laughing — it’s all allowed.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to be completely mute throughout the conversation. Try offering neutral support by saying things like “I’m glad you came to me with this.” and “I’m always here when you need to talk.”

5. Invite Them To Join You In Healthy Activities

Taking a walk? Joining a health club? Doing Zumba in your living room? Ask the caregiver in your life to do it with you!

It’s easy to get locked into a caregiving bubble, which can lead to deprioritizing things like fresh air and exercise. A simple invitation can break a caregiver free from unhealthy ruts.

He or she may not come around at first, but don’t let that discourage you. Keep offering, even if it takes 50 text messages and video proof of your novice moves to get ‘em dancing around in front of your TV.

6. Share Your Self-Care Tools & Tactics With Them

The same caregiving bubble that prevents folks from staying active can also prevent caregivers from discovering the best ways to mitigate their stress.

Then, even when they have time to themselves, they may not know how to get the most out of it.

Suggesting your favorite ways to decompress might get their wheels turning about giving themselves some TLC. If you can make these forms of self-care accessible, even better!

You might send them the link to your favorite meditation app, or get them a gift certificate to a spa you love. You could share your favorite CBD oil products with them and shed light on the benefits of CBD for stress and relaxation. Or just give them some CBD gummies or topical CBD cream and let the results speak for themselves!

Want to gift a caregiver a homemade CBD bath bomb or other handcrafted CBD infusion? Learn how to make them in Trending DIY CBD-Infused Bath & Beauty Products (Plus How To Make Them).

Every Ounce Of Support Adds Up

Friends, significant others, and family members are vital sources of support for caregivers.

Remember, caregivers are in a mode of putting others first, which can be hard to switch off. The more seamless you can make their self-care, the more likely they are to make it a priority.

Everything from check-in texts to Zumba invites and CBD gifts make a caregiver’s job easier and more balanced.

With some thought and planning, you can be a part of a successful support network for the caregiver in your life.


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