August 1, 2023

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Never forget to care for the caregiver.

As a nurse, I see reminders every day of the power of family and friends who are caregivers for their loved ones. They help support the patient throughout their health challenges, can improve the patient’s physical and mental health and advocate and ensure the patient receives proper care.

But being a caregiver is anything but simple. It is a challenging and complex dynamic. It is natural to want the best for our loved ones. It is also natural to dedicate so much energy and time to their care that we fail to care for ourselves.

Think of it this way — when you are on a flight, walking through the safety instructions, the flight attendant will instruct you to put your own oxygen mask on before helping anyone else. Without getting the oxygen you need first, you will be unable to help anyone else.

As we care for others, it is vital to ensure we have adequate self-care and support in place. Here are simple ways caregivers can “put on their own oxygen mask first.”

Do something for you

Caregivers often give most of their time to others. But we all need time that is only for us —that is not selfish, it is healthy!

Make it a goal to take 15 minutes every day for yourself. Spend it doing something you enjoy — whether that is enjoying a slow morning with a cup of tea, walking around your neighborhood or calling a good friend.

This time is for you. Take back a few minutes to recharge in the middle of difficult circumstances.

Ask for (and accept) help

This tip is hard for many of us. But asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Remember — you are probably not the only one who loves the person you are caring for.

Ask for help and allow others to assist you where they can. Whether you need someone to make a grocery run, help getting things done around the house or you just need a break for a few hours – do not hesitate to reach out. You are not alone.

Get outside:

Sometimes, fresh air is the best medicine. Being outside does wonders for your mental health. Go stand outside for 5 minutes or sit on your porch while a thunderstorm rolls through. Use this time to take a deep breath of fresh air and clear your mind or meditate.

If that feels a little bit outside of your comfort zone, there are resources that might help. Download an app on your phone that focuses on deep breathing and relaxation to help walk you through it. Here is a list of great apps to try.

Take advantage of local resources

If you are feeling stretched thin, there are a wide variety of agencies who support caregivers with volunteers and resources. Conduct a quick internet search for local support groups and agencies. You could also reach out to a local church — some may have support resources available.

Remember — you are not alone in this. You play a vital role in your loved one’s health journey. Take time today to make sure you have the support and self-care routine in place to carry on. Never forget to care for the caregiver.

Weekly Recipe

Balsamic Steak Skewers with Mixed Vegetables and Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Self-care for Caregivers
Jordyn Schwerin, RN

Authored By

Jordyn Schwerin, RN

Kinetiq Health Program Manager

As a Kinetiq Health Program Manager, Jordyn works to create customized and unique wellness solutions, aiming to improve her clients’ overall health and quality of life. Her responsibilities include collaborating with client wellness teams and hosting one-on-one client meetings to communicate and implement wellness plans based on specific needs.

Meet Jordyn