Focusing on Self-Care During National Caregiver Month

November is National Caregiver Month and a wonderful reminder to recognize the selfless acts and efforts of those who care for others. It’s often not realized how stressful and challenging the role of a caregiver can be, and how important it is to emphasize self-care for caregivers.

The following 5 tips are some of the ways that caregivers can take care of themselves:

  1. Seek support from other caregivers – Confiding in someone else who is going through a similar situation will help you better cope with your emotions. Research suggests that support groups can help to reduce stress and provide crucial coping strategies.
  2. Pay attention to your own health – Taking care of your own health is vital to maintaining the strength and stamina needed to take care of your loved one.
  3. Let others help you – Accepting help from others doesn’t minimize your job or take away from all that you are doing. This will not change your circumstances, but it will allow you to take a little bit of weight off your shoulders.
  4. Take breaks to rejuvenate – Humans are not meant to work non-stop without taking a break! Respite provides temporary relief and some greatly needed rest and time to recharge.
  5. Beware of depression signs – Many caregivers can slip into a state of depression. Some common signs of caregiver depression are an inability to sleep, feelings of exhaustion, inability to talk to others about your experience as a caregiver, inability to enjoy activities you once found pleasurable, and constant fearfulness/worry/ impending doom.

Gilda’s Club Westchester offers a weekly “Caregiver Group,”  providing a warm and welcoming space for support and connection for those caring for someone diagnosed with cancer. To learn more about this and other support groups at Gilda’s Club Westchester, please visit the calendar on our website