American Stroke Foundation

Caregiver ResourcesThe Importance of Self-Care as a Caregiver

The Importance of Self-Care as a Caregiver

Caregivers are good at helping others and not always as good at taking care of themselves.. In this video caregivers will see the benefits and importance of self-care and become familiar with activities and techniques to use in their everyday lives.

Sectors of Personal Self-Care (2:15-8:15)

  1. Physical Self Care. Take care of your body through physical activity, taking prescribed medications, attending doctor appointments, and sleep quality.
  2. Social Self-Care. Take the opportunity to build new relationships and maintain pre-stroke relationships with family and friends.
  3. Mental/Emotional Self-Care. Practice self-compassion, participate in leisure activities, and take time for yourself.
  4. Spiritual Care. Nurture your spirit whether through meditation, praying, reflecting or attending religious services.

Why Is It Important to Take Care of Yourself? (8:16-9:21)

It can be very easy to get enveloped in the role of caregiving and neglect your own personal wants and needs. Unfortunately, if one does not take care of themselves there is an increased risk for developing psychological and physiological problems. These can include depression, sleep related problems, poor quality of life, anxiety, and various other health issues.

How Caregiving can Impact the Ability to Take Part in Self-Care (9:21-24:08)

  1. Initial Response to Caregiving. Studies have found that at the onset of caregiving people put aside their own wants and needs, and halt other activities.
  2. Overall Caregiver Health. Caregivers often disregard their own physical, social, and mental health.
  3. Psychological Well-Being of Caregiver. Caregivers often experience high strain and poorer quality of life which can lead to increased rates of anxiety and depression.
  4. Cognition of Caregivers. Family caregivers post-stroke are at risk for social isolation, burden, and depressive symptoms. Not only are caregivers tasked with managing their loved one’s cognitive impairments post-stroke but may be at risk for developing their own impairments.
  5. Physiological Well-Being of Caregivers. Caregivers who were more likely to report higher levels of burden and depressive symptoms were more likely to experience physical injury during caregiving tasks.
  6. Taking Time for Yourself. It is important for caregivers to take time for themselves to avoid role engulfment, loss of self, and maintain valuable social connection. Taking time for yourself decreases caregiver burden and increases quality of life.

How Can You Participate in Self-Care as a Caregiver? (24:09-27:50)

Caregivers may not be able to resume certain activities, however with adjustments many activities can be resumed. Creative new ways to participate in activities and occupations can be found using adaptive modifications, asking for help, and creating a daily routine that incorporates “me time” whether it is for a few minutes or an hour each day.

Techniques for Self-Care (27:51-47:01)

Use some or all of these self-care techniques to focus your mind, reconnect with the present, reduce stress, and regain control of your emotions.

Respite Care (47:02-49:24)

An option to achieve time for yourself and practice self-care for longer periods of time could be respite care. Respite care does not come without a financial cost. To help cover the costs there are resources found online.

Closing Thoughts (49:25--52:01)

Self-care nourishes your body and mind the same way food and water does. Do not be afraid to seek help. Practice positive self-talk and create plans to problem solve any barriers you are currently experiencing. Set realistic goals for yourself. Keep moving forward, setting new goals, and taking care of yourself daily. You own health and well-being is so important and should be prioritized.

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