Practicing Self Care When You’re a Caregiver

errand-works-slider3Being a caregiver is often the most rewarding but challenging job out there. Whether it’s for a parent, child or loved one with a disability, you pour your heart into the care you give. But what happens when you find your own tank on empty? Here are some ways to pause and recharge.

When You Care for a Parent

Caring for an aging parent is such a special role. Mom or Dad cared for you, and now it’s your turn to make sure your parent is clean, healthy, happy and safe. But between endless medical appointments, helping with showers and cooking appealing meals, it’s easy to see why you could be exhausted, stressed, frazzled or any number of other adjectives.

When you feel overwhelmed, it’s time to reach out for help. Call a sibling or other family member to step in for a bit, even if it’s just long enough for you to visit a local bookstore and savor a cup of coffee. Or hire someone to run those errands that anyone could do for you. Take that break before you reach your breaking point.

When You Care for Someone With a Disability

Caring for an aging child or family member with a disability carries its own set of challenges. You may be unable to leave the person home alone. Perhaps your loved one is completely dependent on you for everything — bathing, eating, dressing. You are wonderful for the care you give. You are also human for feeling overwhelmed, tired, frustrated or even angry at times.

You may feel that it’s selfish to want time to yourself, but it’s not. Choose a time of day when your loved one’s needs aren’t as high, and ask a friend to stay with him or her. If you don’t have a friend you can ask, hire a companion to stay for the afternoon while you run needed errands, take a long walk through the park or get a manicure.

When You Care for Children

If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you likely often hear, “You’re so lucky not to have to work!” WHAT? You work all day and night — bathing, cleaning, chasing, diapering, carpooling — it just seems never to end some days. And while you wouldn’t change your life for anything, you may want to pause it sometimes and temporarily escape. No judgement here — we get it! How can you simplify things and give yourself a break?

Instead of running errands, hire someone to do them, get a sitter and steal away for a much-needed massage or dinner date with a friend. Insist upon nap or quiet time every day to give yourself time to recharge your battery, maybe via an additional cup of coffee or just the blissful sound of silence. Ahhhhh. And never be afraid to ask friends or family members to swap babysitting time. We all need time to have fun as an adult!

We tip our hats to all the caregivers out there and recognize the strength it takes to give your all to someone else day in and day out. At Errand Works, we are here to simplify your life. If you need someone to pick up prescriptions or dry cleaning, somebody to take Fluffy to the groomer or vet, or a reliable, affordable companion to stay with your loved one, give us a call. We’ll discuss your needs in detail and set up a plan that suits you.

After two decades of owning a medical transcription business, overseeing the household while her husband was deployed and managing the care of their special needs daughter, including hiring, training and scheduling multiple caregivers, Jennifer became aware of skills she had developed which would benefit others.

Jennifer has lived in Nokesville for over 20 years with her husband, Kurt, who is retired from the Coast Guard and in his 11th year of teaching middle school science in Prince William County. Their special-needs daughter, Katie, who is 28 years old, continues to live with them, with the help of several caregivers. Church and family are very important to them, as is reaching out to others.