Individuals who are caring for aging loved ones often “lose themselves” in the process. Many experience caregiver guilt and endure a great deal of stress that can radically changes their view of themselves. It’s important to accept and appreciate ourselves as we are. Self-love is a combination of building awareness of ourselves, nurturing our minds and bodies, and acknowledging that we are worthy of good things in life.
While there is no magical roadmap to help us navigate life as a caregiver, we can adjust our attitudes to help make things a little easier on ourselves. We can understand how loving ourselves can change our perspective and boost our confidence as a caregiver. Here are some things to remember:
Accept your flaws as part of your humanity.
There are probably things about yourself that you feel could use some work, but remember that imperfection is human. Accept this simple fact and you’ll feel a weight lifted off your mind. Be sure to let go of caregiver guilt and remember that we are powerless to stop the cycles that come with chronic disease and decline.
Take care of yourself daily.
Consider incorporating meditation or mindfulness into your daily routine. Many studies have shown that meditation of any form can lower blood pressure, decrease stress and increase our feelings of well-being. Additionally, take care of your body by exercising and eating well. Set achievable goals and affirm yourself each day as you care for yourself.
Aim to be defined by positive forces in your life rather than negative ones.
Many people have lived through difficult experiences, often brought on by others. Forgiveness can help you let go of those experiences, so they no longer hold power over your feelings and actions. Similarly, some people may need to leave their own feeling of guilt, regret and shame behind and forgive themselves.
Remember that you are worthy of love and having your needs met, even as a caregiver of another. While it is a difficult balance to strike, it’s an important one in order to stay healthy and whole.
Adapted from Aging Care. Visit https://www.agingcare.com/articles/how-to-love-yourself-177715.htm to read the full article.