How do I care for my loved one who has lupus while caring for myself?
Being the best, healthiest you by caring for yourself can mean you are better able to provide support and care for your family member with lupus. There are many simple and manageable strategies you can use to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed, and to help take care of your body, mind, and spirit.
As a caregiver you may tend to push your own health aside to focus on your loved one with lupus. It is important for you not to give so much of yourself that you “burn out.” Experts often refer to burnout in terms of neglecting one’s own self-care. This can present itself through a burst of frustration, overwhelming feelings of stress, or even negative health outcomes.
Here are some tips to try:
- Sit down to meals and have a well-rounded diet. While not always easy, making a conscious effort to plan meals ahead and keep nutrient-rich foods available can make a difference in your nutrition. A tip to keep in mind is to ask your friends or family to prepare healthy meals for you during especially stressful days. This will give you some extra time allowing you can take care of other responsibilities while still eating well.
- Remember to schedule your yearly wellness visits, and do not neglect symptoms of sickness throughout the year. Being germ-free and healthy will also mean that your family member with lupus will be in a healthy environment.
- Set aside time every day to engage in something that brings you joy. This will also help to combat stress. Take up a hobby or breathe in some fresh air. When it is difficult for your loved one to get out of the house due to a flare you and your family member can cook, watch a movie, or play board games.
- Regular exercise is not only good for your body, but it also improves your emotional health and well-being. Just ten minutes of moderate exercise can improve your mood and re-energize you. Take a brisk stroll around the neighborhood, go for a short bike ride, or attend a yoga class.
- Practice good sleep habits. You should aim for at least seven hours of quality and consistent sleep. You need time to recharge after each day.
This article was published by the Lupus Foundation of America Office.