Caring for a loved one through addiction often means we are putting our own self-care on hold. Our loved one needs medication or a ride to an appointment and we are there for them. They hurt and are in pain and need someone to listen to them and we are there. They need a meal or a bath and we are there. There is no end to the love and support we provide to them.
Repeated behaviour such as this can cause irritability, anger outbursts, lack of patience, high levels of stress etc. Therefore, we must care for ourselves first before caring for others. Especially if the loved one you are caring for is consumed with the addiction.
One really important thing you can do to start caring for yourself is to get plenty of information about how to help take care of yourself while caring an addict. Here are 5 ways you can care for yourself –
- Care for yourself first and don’t feel guilty- We can be better caregivers when we take care of ourselves first. To be able to care for someone, you need to be able to care for yourself properly.
- Ask for help– There is nothing wrong in asking for help. More hands can help you give the best to the loved one. Asking for help also gives friends and family the opportunity to show their love as well. When we do everything ourselves, we take away the chance for others to love us. Don’t take that away from them even if it is something as small as bringing in your mail. Also, support groups are usually willing to help and a little will go a long way to provide you with time to practice self-care while providing your loved one with things they need while you are gone.
- Resist the urge to use electronics before bedtime– Checking in on social media, laptops, emails or TV before bedtime is over stimulating before bed. These devices should be put away at least one hour before bed. The light from all these devices re-stimulates the brain and delays healthy sleep patterns from forming.
- When it is time to rise, breathe deeply– Often, people who are upset by a situation or event get so worked up that they stop breathing. To avoid this, create a breathing practice for yourself that will allow you to consciously breathe, deeply, slowly, and naturally, on a regular basis. Some ways to stay conscious of your breath are to take a slow, deep breath before opening the door or answering the phone. Just cultivating these breath breaks can help you go a long way toward serenity.
- Take good care of yourself: As a grown-up, your job is to be there for yourself and the other people in the family. This is almost impossible to do if you are not taking care of yourself! Taking care of yourself is a prerequisite for any help you would like to give anyone else.
Don’t lose hope
Families can play a positive role in encouraging their loved ones to get and stay sober once they get their focus back on themselves. After all, drug addiction, like a hurricane, can leave some pretty deep scars, especially if its effects are ignored or denied. Each time you speak in a peaceful, loving way to someone who is struggling, you give them hope that there could be a way out of the insanity for them, too.
This article is written for many people out there caring for their loved one. What you are doing is appreciable, loving and kind. You are an amazing person and you deserve to care for yourself!
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