The following is a list of tips for caregivers:
1. Be gentle with yourself.
2. Remind yourself that you are a loving helper, not a magician. None of us can change anyone else – we can only change the way that we relate to others.
3. Find a place where you can be a hermit – use it every day – or when you need to.
4. Learn to give support, praise and encouragement to those about you. And learn to accept it in return.
5. Remember that in the light of all the pain we see around us, we are bound to feel helpless at times. We need to be able to admit this without shame. Just in caring and in being there, we are doing something important.
6. Learn to vary your routine often and to change your tasks whenever possible.
7. Learn to know the difference between complaining that relieves tension and complaining that reinforces it.
8. Focus on one good thing that happened each day.
9. Become a resource to yourself! Be creative and open to new approaches to old things.
10. Use the support you give to others or a “buddy” system regularly. Use these as a support, for reassurance and to redirect yourself.
11. Avoid talking about a problem while taking a break.
12. Learn to us the expression “I choose to…” rather than expressions like “I have to…,” “I ought to…,” or “I should…”
13. Learn to say, “I won’t…” rather than “I can’t…”
14. Learn to say “no” and mean it.
15. Aloofness and indifference are far more harmful than admitting to an inability to do more.
16. Above all else, learn to laugh and play.
Taken from the NAMI Family to Family Education Program 2012. Author unknown.