Taking Care of the Caregiver: A Guide to Self-Care for Caregivers

When your time is dedicated to parenting a child with autism, it’s easy to neglect your own needs. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup. To make sure that you stay well enough to continue your crucial caregiving, you have to maintain your own wellness.

Self-care has become a huge trend, with the hashtag used over 50 million times on Instagram. But self-care isn’t exclusively skincare rituals, yoga retreats, and elaborate smoothie bowls.

We understand that caregivers have limited time and energy to give to themselves. So, here’s our realistic guide to self-care for caregivers.

Self-Care For Caregivers: Mindfulness

As a busy caregiver, you’ll know the challenges of finding the time for self-care routines. The good news is, even a few moments of quiet reflection can have a positive effect on your well-being. 

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment—of observing your mind and how it’s reacting to your current circumstances. This practice of observation enables you to get a broader sense of perspective, lowering any stress of the present moment. 

You can practice mindfulness anywhere. It might be a simple as a short breathing exercise, a guided meditation, or even a coloring book. In just 5 minutes, you can feel more grounded and calm through mindfulness.

Your Cup of Tea

You might not automatically consider a cup of tea to be one of the most imaginative self-care ideas. However, as an autism caregiver, when was the last time you sat down and really savored the moment?

Taking five minutes with a cup of herbal tea can be very therapeutic. Select a healing blend with herbs that will support the endocrine system. This will help to keep all of the hormonal systems in the body running smoothly. Our favorite is Our Healing Tea from Our Botanicals.

Supplement Your Health

If you feel like you’re running on empty and you’re not sure a herbal tea will do the trick, consider supplements. 

For an emotionally demanding role like yours, it’s important that you keep your serotonin levels up. Serotonin is the hormone that regulates anxiety, mood, and happiness. If your levels are low, you may feel more stressed or vulnerable than usual.

Nutrition plays a very important role in overall well-being. Supplementing your diet with some natural stress-busting compounds could help maintain your serotonin levels and have you feeling more ‘you’ again. We recommend trying out Tranquilene to correct stress-causing nutritional imbalances over time while providing immediate herbal calming.

B vitamins are also very important in regulating energy levels and overall mood. A natural blend of B vitamins will help to keep stress and anxiety at bay. Consider incorporating these into your daily routine to help you feel your best each day.

If your low energy or low mood is persistent, don't suffer in silence. Visit your doctor for advice.

Create a Mini Home Spa Experience

Very few of us have the time or resources to spend a day at the spa. So, why not bring the spa experience into your home? You don’t need to spend hours in the salon to lift your spirits. 

With a spare 5 minutes, you can paint your nails an uplifting color. If you have 10 minutes, try out a homemade facemask. You can even give yourself a mini home pedicure in only 15 minutes

If you have half an hour or more available, run yourself a bath with some restorative bath salts. This blend has natural dead sea salt, calming essential oils, and soothing dried flowers. The perfect way to create a luxurious little moment of relaxation in your own home. Try the Flower & Salts Bath Soak from Amaki.

These little actions of investing in our wellbeing may not seem like much, but they can have a profound effect on how we feel about ourselves. You deserve to feel your best.

Gentle Exercise

The importance of exercise for wellbeing is no secret. Even gentle exercises have powerful effects on overall wellness and stress relief. 

Despite this, many of us find it difficult to find the time or motivation to move our bodies. However, if the lockdowns of the last year have taught us anything, it’s that we don’t have to leave our own homes to work out. 

There are now endless free exercise resources online, from 10-minute yoga classes to full 90 minute HIIT workouts. If you have the opportunity to roll out your mat or dust off the dumbells, you’d be surprised the effect it can have!

Nature Walks

If guided exercise isn’t for you, why not take yourself on a guided tour of nature? Walking is excellent for well-being. Not only are you moving your body, but you’re also getting a change of scenery, fresh air, and some vitamin D!

Spending time in nature is proven to reduce stress and promote positivity. Even just a walk through the local park with your kids will subtly change your perspective. 

Stay Connected

As a spectrum caregiver, you’ll know how easy it is to feel isolated. Even though you know there are many other parents facing similar challenges, it can be easy to feel alone on difficult days.

Building a support network is vital, and a great self-care technique. This can include family members, friends, or support groups of other caregivers. 

There’s even a social network dedicated to autism caregivers—meaning you can share experiences and receive support without even leaving your home.

Small Steps to Staying Well

Self-care for caregivers is as much a mindset as an action. Remembering that your needs are valid and your wellbeing is important can be half the battle. Even taking these small steps can help you to feel well and continue your amazing work.

For more information on how to keep the whole family feeling well, contact us.