Caregivers Community

How Caregivers Can Find “Me” Time

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
04/30/15  11:55 PM PST
Self-care Caregiver

Being a caregiver can be a 24/7 job, which makes it difficult to find time for yourself and for the things you like to do. Many caregivers struggle with feelings of guilt or selfishness when taking time for themselves. Practicing care and compassion toward yourself is an important– and sometimes difficult–skill to master.

It is important to have “me time” in order to refresh and rejuvenate yourself. Doing something that excites you is energizing and will give you a boost to carry you through more difficult days.

Here are some tips to create time for yourself, even with the busiest of schedules:

Schedule time for yourself in advance

Treat this like a meeting (or MEeting). Just like you would be physically and mentally present for a certain amount of time with no distractions during a business meeting, do this for your scheduled self-time. If possible, try to schedule your “MEeting” for at least 30 minutes every day. During this time do something you find enjoyable and/or restorative and do not become distracted from this activity for 30 minutes.

Learn and implement different time-saving techniques

These techniques don’t have to be difficult or very involved. For example, bypass that 5 minutes you look for your keys in the morning by designating a spot you put your keys every day when you get home. Keep other objects in places that you know you’ll look for them. Staying organized allows you to save time throughout the day, and in the end you’ll have more time for yourself.

Prioritize your to-do list. This will help you best utilize your time.

Do the thing you’re dreading most first, and then your day will feel that much easier. If you find that some items on your to-do list are not urgent or necessary, and you are feeling drained, allow yourself to put off that task temporarily and enjoy some well-deserved free time instead.

Write a list of things you would like to do

This list is not a “to do list,” it is a list of things you enjoy or want to do. On lighter days make it a priority to make time to cross these items off! These items should be seen as a priority because it is important to have experiences you look forward to and then look back on with joy.

Develop a routine you like that fits you

Start your day with a short amount of time focusing on your day or doing something you enjoy. This can be as simple as drinking a cup of your favorite tea or doing 10 minutes of yoga. Some parts of your routine will not be all fun, but getting in a habit of doing things a certain way (and scheduling in some fun time) helps make days enjoyable. Routines also provide a sense of control, which is something that we don’t always feel we have as caregivers.

Don’t feel guilty

Just to reiterate, caregivers shouldn’t feel guilty about making time for and caring for themselves. It is your responsibility to take care of your physical and emotional well-being so that you can take the best possible care of your loved one.

Looking for some nutrition tips for busy caregivers? Check these out.