CarePartners

Mental Health and Self-Care for the Caregiver

Mental Health and Self-Care for the Caregiver

Lauren Pursley from Mental Health America of Greater Houston discusses the importance of self-care for the caregiver. Stress is defined in engineering as the pressure or tension exerted on a material object, and right now, many people can relate to that stress.

Trauma is when a situation occurs that we either experience or witness that leaves us feeling vulnerable, helpless and afraid. The COVID-19 pandemic is a shared traumatic experience, and trauma leads to more stress. It’s completely normal to feel more stressed than usual, but it’s also important to try and understand these emotions.

How Do We Deal With Difficult Emotion?

Self Care

Self care is many things, but in it’s essence, self-care is doing whatever makes you the best version of yourself. It’s not always pretty. Sometimes it’s doing the dishes tonight rather than tomorrow, or exercising to have more energy, eating healthy and hydrating yourself.  It’s very individual, and what is best for one person may not be what’s best for someone else.

Think about something that you’ve been putting off around your house that you’ve been thinking about getting done for more than a day. If the activity takes less than an hour, we challenge you to complete that task today. It’s going to make you feel better, it’s going to make you feel less stressed and it’s going to give you a sense of accomplishment.

Expression

We all have different ways of expressing our emotions; Journaling, writing, drawing. During times of added stress, it’s even more important to be able to express your emotions in a healthy way. Whenever possible you need to be able to express what you’re feeling. Use “I” statements. There is a big difference between “I’m feeling stressed,” and “You are stressing me out.”

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about being present in the here and now with openness, curiosity and kindness. Think about the things in your life that you do have, for example, a roof over your head, air condition, food and water. Even ten deep breathes can make the difference. When we are experiencing trauma, taking ten deep breaths can send the message to your brain that says, ” I am safe.” It also releases a surge of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that makes you feel good.