One of the most challenging yet most rewarding things you may ever do in life is caring for a loved one with disabilities. You might be their sole carer, or you may help other family members by sharing the load.
No matter what your role is, you’ll likely find that you need help from time to time. Some of these coping mechanisms and strategies below may be how you help yourself to be able to help others.
Rely On Support Services
Having a loved one with disabilities can be a full-time job. While you likely couldn’t see yourself doing anything else, it’s crucial to have access to help and support when you need it. Support services like Senses exist to provide that support you need. You can take advantage of services like home care, therapy, and workshops to avoid feelings of isolation while you care for someone with extra needs.
Take Time for Yourself
There may come a time when you’re exhausted and feel like you have pushed yourself to your limits. At this point, your presence around a loved one with a disability may not be in their or your best interest.
Don’t forget to take time for yourself so you can regroup and refresh. Rely on a support service or family member to care for your loved one while you go for a walk, spend time with friends, or even just take a hot bath.
You can’t be at your best 100% of the time, so don’t be afraid to step back from time to time and look after yourself.
Join a Support Group
One of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself as the carer of someone with disabilities is joining a support group. Meet with people in similar situations to your own, and bond over shared experiences and life struggles.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable in group environments, you may be surprised at how helpful it can be to talk to someone with a similar story to your own and know you’re not alone. Even your mental health might benefit.
Find Your Relaxation Method
The average day can be highly stressful for those looking after people with disabilities. There are so many things to achieve in the average day that by the time you’ve got a moment to yourself, you may not know what to do with it.
Find a relaxation method that calms you down and lets you shake off the day’s stresses. For some people, it’s writing in a journal or meditating. For others, it’s listening to music, exercising, or reading a book. Find what works for you, and make time for it.
Have Strategies for Negative Emotions
Everyone has bad days, and when you’re caring for someone who relies on you entirely, you’re no exception to the rule. You might feel anger, depression, jealousy, and frustration, which are all valid feelings to have.
However, having a plan for each of those feelings can be crucial. For example, you might seek help from a counselor for feelings of depression, or you might vent your feelings of frustration in a support group.
It’s important for you to know that you’re doing a great job, but it’s also okay to admit that you need help. Any of these coping mechanisms and strategies above may be how you make sure that while you’re looking after a loved one, you’re also looking after yourself.