Life is a balancing act. Caregiving can disrupt the balance of life because it introduces so many new responsibilities. Some people thrive on chaos, but most caregivers need to focus more than ever on finding balance if they hope to manage stress, sustain their relationships, and avoid financial problems.
Finding balance comes down to self-care – you have to balance giving care to another person with receiving care for yourself. If you stay focused on the importance of taking care of yourself first, then you’re halfway there.
Here are some general suggestions for finding balance:
make caregiving a part of your life, not your whole life. Don’t let your loved one’s illness take centre stage all the time;
your loved one’s needs and wishes are top priority, but don’t base caregiving decisions on them alone. Think about how decisions will affect you and your family, too;
take time out for yourself every day. Do things that shift your focus away from others and toward you;
be prepared for caregiving to affect your relationships. Your new responsibilities and priorities may make others angry or resentful. Defuse tensions through communication;
try to give others who depend on you quality time every day. It’s less important to give lots of time than to give your undivided attention;
accept that you can’t do everything. Set limits on the amount of time, energy, and money you can afford to invest in caregiving;
know that periods of crisis will be followed by periods of calm.