The author Eleanor Brown said that “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel. ”
Family members of patients with mental health challenges are usually the primary caregivers. They monitor their mental health on a day-to-day basis, assist with ensuring medication is taken, psychiatrists and psychologists appointments are kept, and whatever other need arises as a result of the state of their mental health. But who takes care of them? When they are sleep-deprived worried about their sick kin when the insurance runs out and the medication must be bought? When the patient seems to be stable then suddenly a relapse happens in a minute? When do they decline parties and social gatherings because of the guilt they feel leaving their kin behind because they cannot bear to be around people due to the anxiety they are battling? Who takes care of them when they experience stigma from the public as a result of having a mentally unstable member of the family? Who takes care of the caregivers?
The burden and stress of taking care of mental health patients will cause them to either develop healthy coping mechanisms, or poor coping mechanisms which can have adverse effects.
When Eleanor talks about self-care, self means own initiative. The caregiver must look at six basic areas of their life that they must attend to enable them to have proper functioning and continuous ability as caregivers.
There are six basic types of self-care.
1. Social self-care refers to those activities that strengthen relationships with significant people in your life. Lunch dates, phone calls with family members, etc.
2. Spiritual self-care does not translate to religion. For some, it could. It however refers to those activities that help us connect deeply with who we genuinely are. For example through meditation.
3. Physical self-care is to do with those activities that help improve your physical health. Taking a walk, drinking enough water.
4. Mental self-care is what keeps your mind alert and active. Activities like reading a book.
5. Practical self-care is what you do to help you put your life in order to alleviate stress. Things like making up a budget.
6. Emotional self-care are those activities that help you identify, connect with and process your emotions. One of them could be attending therapy with a psychologist to help you deal with overwhelming emotions.
Remember, “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel. ”
By Victoria Rika,
Chiromo Hospital Group, Braeside.