Me Time: The Most Important Time of the Day

Mar 28, 2016

Me Time: The Most Important Time of the Day

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Caregivers have one of the most important jobs; caring for someone who can’t care for themselves. While most find that this career choice is an extremely rewarding one, let’s be real – caregiving is no easy feat.

Why Me Time is Important 

Caregiving can be stressful, frustrating, and exhausting, especially when the caregiver has a difficult time finding time for personal use, or me time. Everyone needs their own time, but those that focus all of their time on other people probably need it the most. Why do caregivers need time for themselves? Well, this personal time can really help caregivers keep things in perspective and keep them away from the dreaded caregiver burnout.

Ways Caregivers Can Create Time for Themselves

It’s more difficult for a caregiver to find me time than one may think. After all, their days are often based on very strict schedules. Here are five things all caregivers should know about finding me time every day:

  1. Designate time off. Down time is hard to come by, so a caregiver should plan a few hours a week where another family member is taking care of the loved one. This will allow the caregiver to not only get out of the house but also know that the individual they love and care for is in good hands. Caregivers should use this time to treat themselves to a night out with friends, a Saturday morning shopping trip, or even that spa session they’ve been dying for. The possibilities are endless!
  2. Start small: Understand that 5 to 15 minutes can go a long way. A caregiver can steal some time by waking up a few minutes earlier than they usually do, and use that time for whatever they need. Whether they’d like to take their time in the shower, go for a quick jog, or simply sip on some coffee while planning out their day, this time is great for early morning reflection. Although this tiny bit of time can be found at any part of the day, and it’s important to not let it go to waste.
  3. Remember that it’s OK to ask for help: Not many people like asking for help, but it’s important for a caregiver to know that asking for help is perfectly OK. Taking care of someone other than yourself at all times can be a difficult feat, and it’s not expected that a caregiver do it all alone. If a caregiver finds that they need help, it’s crucial that they ask another family member or loved one for assistance. Asking for help will lessen the load for a caregiver and allow for a bit more time for themself. 
  4. Never feel guilty for taking time: If a caregiver’s loved one spontaneously decides to take an afternoon nap, he or she might feel like they should take this time to do chores or other things around the house, but instead, he or she should take this time and pick up that hobby that they pushed to the backburner. Actually, caregivers should do whatever they want in this time, even take a nap themselves!
  5. Learn how to say no: This is especially hard for caregivers because they are so used to bending over backward for everyone, but whether they are saying no to their senior or another loved one, it’s important they learn how to be assertive. For example, a loved one is completely mobile and hasn’t had any problems getting around but still insists that their caregiver bring them everything. This is great example of when to say no.

These are just five of the ways caregivers can create more time for themselves throughout the day, no matter how hectic and busy they seem to be. After all, me time is the most important time of the day.

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Frequently Asked Questions

My sister has been the primary caregiver for our father for the past year and has recently become apathetic. What can I do?

Apathy in one common sign of compassion fatigue and is common among those who work in the caregiving industry. While it is different than burnout, many of the signs and symptoms are similar. If you are able, try to alleviate some of your sister’s responsibilities by filling in and allowing her to practice some self-care as well. Also, do not be afraid to point her in the direction of a caregiver support group. There are many great resources available to help with compassion fatigue.

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My father has lived in the same house for over 50 years, so he's reluctant to leave. How do I talk to him about moving to a senior care community?

When people grow attached to a familiar setting, moving to a senior care community can be a difficult subject, especially when caregiving is involved. To avoid excessive stress for you and your loved one, there are ways to bring up "the move" to elderly parents. Remember to remain honest and address any concerns your father may have. Prepare yourself for resistance. 

Have you checked out our Is It Time to Seek Senior Care Checklist? This resources will help you decide if it really is the right time for your senior to move out. This may be something that you want to bring to a meeting with your senior to show them some reasons why it may not be safe for them to live independently anymore.

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