Here are some ways to help ourselves in our role as caregivers for a loved one with bipolar disorder:
1. Exercise daily,
even if for only 20-30 minutes a day.
2. Get adequate rest and sleep.
Adhering to a healthy sleep schedule may be difficult with all you are now dealing with. Here are some helpful hints to get those much needed Z's: Avoid paying bills, having difficult discussions, or other stressful events in the evening. Try scheduling them early in the day.
- Clear your mind. Try imagining a calming scene bringing into play the five senses. Walk on the beach, listen to the waves, smell the salt air, feel the warm sun...
- Take a warm bath an hour or so before going to bed.
- Smooth on some lavender cream or put essential oil on a cotton ball near your pillow. Research shows that the scent of lavender eases anxiety and insomnia.
- Listen to soothing music and turn off the TV and video games an hour before going to bed.
- Make love, not war. Research shows that sex actually helps induce a sleepy state by releasing endorphins.
- Try some slow, deep breathing. This type of breathing relaxes your body, oxygenates your blood and reduces the stress you feel.
3. Eat nourishing foods.
Try to avoid caffeine, sugar, and processed foods. Avoid alcohol. Many believe alcohol helps them relax and sleep, however, alcohol disrupts the sleep cycle causing a nonrestful sleep.
4. Enjoy some "me" time.
Plan ahead for some "me" time, whether it's a walk with your dog, lunch with a good friend, or curling up with a good book. "Me" time can be very restorative.
5. Acknowledge and understand your negative emotions.
Guilt, anger, isolation and resentment are normal feelings often associated with the caregiving process. If you notice yourself feeling this way, take a step back and remind yourself that these are part of the normal process.
Enjoying a good belly laugh helps the body relax, raises your blood oxygen levels, produces endorphins, stimulates your internal organs, and boosts your immune system.
7. Give yourself a pat on the back.
You aren't doing this to win a caregiver award but at the same time, you may not have realized how taxing it would be. If your loved one with bipolar disorder does not show his or her appreciation, don't take it personally. Appreciate your own efforts and how they're helping.
8. Find support.
Whether you seek support from your church, a professional therapist, or simply check in with a cheery friend, support is essential.
Here are some ways to help ourselves in our role as caregivers for
a loved one with bipolar disorder: 1. Exercise daily, even if for
only 20-30 minutes a day. 2. Get adequate rest and sleep. Adhering
to a healthy sleep schedule may be... More