To be able to care for the people you love, you must first take care of yourself. It’s like the advice we’re given on airplanes: put on your own oxygen mask before trying to help someone else with theirs. Taking care of yourself is a valid goal on its own, and it helps you support the people you love.
Caregivers who pay attention to their own physical and emotional health are better able to handle the challenges of supporting someone with mental illness. They adapt to changes, build strong relationships and recover from setbacks. The ups and downs in your family member’s illness can have a huge impact on you. Improving your relationship with yourself by maintaining your physical and mental health makes you more resilient, helping you weather hard times and enjoy good ones. Here are some suggestions for personalizing your self-care strategy.
Here are some helpful resources for taking care of yourself:
Colorado Crisis Services: This is a free service which you can call any time you need someone to talk to or don’t know where to start. They provide help with many different issues, and you can call regarding yourself or someone else. 1-844-493-8255.
NAMI Taking Care of Yourself Guide: https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Family-Members-and-Caregivers/Taking-Care-of-Yourself
Family Caregiver Alliance, Taking Care of You Guide: https://www.caregiver.org/taking-care-you-self-care-family-caregivers
Find a therapist for yourself, as it is very helpful to have a professional that you can share your feelings with during difficult time. PsychologyToday.com allows you to filter by location, insurance, etc. to find a good fit for you.
NAMI Circle of Care Guidebook: A free downloadable guide, Circle of Care is designed to guide unpaid friends, family and neighbors who care for someone with a mental health condition. https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/Publications-Reports/Guides/Circle-of-Care-Guidebook