self care

 

Many people who are caring for a loved one with a mental illness put off caring for themselves. While that may work short-term, the long-term result will be that you can end up sick, mentally or physically, yourself. Therefore, you must practice self-love while taking care of a loved one with a mental illness.

Find a Routine That Works for You

Many people may have suggestions on routines that you should follow. While those people mean well, they do not live in your home. Therefore, you need to find a routine that works for you. It will be different in each home, but knowing what needs to happen next brings a calming reassurance.

Rally Up Your Troops

A soldier would never go into war without knowing they can count on their buddies. You are battling with mental illness, and you need to know who is on your side. Do not be surprised if people you thought would always be part of your team do not get behind you. They are not worth worrying about. Instead, concentrate on identifying the people you can count on. Once you have them identified, rely on them to do their part instead of doing it all yourself.

Release Stress

Carrying for a loved one with a mental illness can be very emotionally and physically tiring. You need to find a way to release the stress that you are under daily. Please do not believe that it will happen automatically. Instead, schedule it into your day. Some ways to relieve stress include:

• Journaling
• Taking a bubble bath
• Talking to a friend, pastor or therapist
• Going for a walk
• Gardening
• Exercising
• Eating a healthy diet

Seek Out Goodness

When you are caring for a loved one with a mental illness, you are constantly hearing the negative. Unfortunately, this may even come from your loved one’s care team. Instead of allowing yourself to focus on the negative, embrace the sunshine behind the clouds. This often requires consistently looking for the good in every situation. Once you find it, write it down in a little notebook that you keep handy or on your phone so that you can refer to it when negativity seems to surround you.

Set Your Own Goals

Think about something that you want to accomplish and figure out the steps necessary to reach that goal. Consider starting with something small, like cleaning out the refrigerator. Once you have completed the plan, pat yourself on the back and move on to another goal. If your goal is more extensive, break it into smaller steps and reward yourself after accomplishing each step. You will enjoy feeling like you have done something purposeful each day.

Even though you are caring for a loved one with a mental illness, be sure to take self-care time. Practicing a wellness lifestyle is one of the best things that you can do to help your loved one daily, as well as yourself.