Caregivers are truly selfless people who welcome children into their homes and hearts. Often the children in your care will become the core focus of your daily life. Between raising a developmentally traumatised child with high needs and juggling their school, social worker, appointments and other activities; you may be putting your own needs on hold to put others needs first – taking care of everyone else but yourself.
Caring for a developmentally traumatised child can become overwhelming at times. Therefore it is crucial for caregivers to take time out for self care, in order not to burn out.
“Take care of youself” is easy to say but harder to actually do. As caregivers tend to devote their energy to the needs of others, some may not know how to take care of themselves and may siimply not know what would help them
And it can be hard to ask for help when you don’t know what help you need. But self care doesn’t have to be complicated. However building it into your daily routine is so important.
The following list demonstrates some ways you can build a foundation for good self care.
Give yourself permission to need something.
Remember that it’s okay to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t make you needy or incompetent but it may mean you are more able yo deal with issues in a constructive manner.
Keep it simple.
Developing consistent routines and prioritising is essential in creating a safe environment for you and your family. Make choices that fit you and your family.
Stop comparing yourself.
Only you live your life. Don’t measure yourself to other people’s standards. Set expectations based on your and your family’s needs.
Join a support group. Or start your own.
We have many support groups across the country. Discussing your experiences with like minded people can be very empowering. It may even provide you with new insights.
Routinely have something to look forward to.
This may be an uninterrupted bath, a coffee trip with friends, or a chat with your support group. You shouldn’t put off giving yourself a treat. You deserve to reward yourself for the amazing work you do.
Have down time everyday.
Your body mind and soul need time to regenerate from the stresses in life. Moments of calm and reflection can help in staying centered and balanced.
Focus on the positive.
This is not an easy task to undertake but try step back and focus of the silly moments that arise. Recognise the good in your children and within yourself. Celebrate every achievement – no matter how small.
There can be many barriers to self care from emotional, mental and social. Because of these barriers its important to understand the importance of taking care of yourself. If you practice good self care, the children you care for will benefit too. You can’t poor from an empty cup. Finding good balance between caring for your children and meeting your own needs will leave you better equipped to do both.
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