Caring for others can be very rewarding. In fact, altruism has documented benefits on health and wellbeing, so it really is true that it's better to give than to receive, at least in many ways.
However, as any new mother with postpartum depression, spouse of a chronically ill patient, or middle-aged person caring for both her parents and her children will tell you, sometimes being a caregiver can be stressful. Overwhelming, in fact. Even for those who don't experience such extreme circumstances, including regular old busy moms and working moms, caregiving can take a toll.
With giving of yourself, there needs to be balance. You need to fill your own cup before you fill anyone else's (or at least fill your own cup, too). If you run yourself into the ground, you won't be able to give to others, so self care for caregivers is another act of giving. The trick is being able to fit self care into an already-packed schedule.
In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, I want to be sure to give a supportive 'virtual hug' to all of the family caregivers out there. You are all amazing, and are making the world a better place by all that you give to others. I also want to provide you with some resources to help reduce stress in your life and stay strong for others. I also invite you to stop by the Stress Management Forum for some support and conversation, or to pass onto others what works well for you!
Caregiver Resources from Elizabeth Scott