This is a really good article on self-care if you care for a loved one with mental illness.
Please read the full article here: https://mindyourmind.ca/help/self-care-while-helping-friend
EXCERPTS: Taking care of yourself while helping a friend means recognizing that your own needs are also important. Supporting someone might require a lot of your time and energy and it can be easy to neglect your own self-care. Self care can be anything that helps to rebuild or sustain your emotional, physical, mental, social or spiritual balance.
1. Find BALANCE:
The key is to try to strike a balance between your responsibilities, and those things that help to recharge and maintain our health (like exercising, connecting with friends, finishing that book you’re reading, etc.) If you’re so consumed with helping a friend that you’re neglecting other parts of your life, you’ll get tired and resentful.
2. Set BOUNDARIES:
This means establishing healthy limits, such as being able to tell someone when they are behaving in a way that you are struggling with or find upsetting. Knowing what your limits are, communicating them clearly, and knowing what is and isn’t acceptable are all part of defining and setting boundaries.
3. Know what RESCUE vs. SUPPORT means:
As much as you might wish you could “fix” someone or “fix” things for them, you can’t do someone else’s emotional work for them. The thing to remember though – and this is the trickiest thing about caring for someone who is going through a hard time – is that your friend’s emotional state is beyond your control. Rescuing means over-helping and can actually take away from another person’s self-determination. It is not helpful and can create a dependency rather than a healthy relationship or a healthy way of dealing with mental illness.
4. Remember your OWN NEEDS:
It can become easy to neglect your own needs while helping someone deal with mental health issues. You might even feel guilty for focusing on your own needs, thinking that your friend or family member is in a worse spot than you are. Or perhaps they are even making you feel guilty for it. Set boundaries and stick to them, and make room in your life to do things that are important to you.
5. Remember that you’re NOT ALONE:
It can take more than one person to support someone going through a tough time. It’s not all up to you. Share the experience by reaching out to other friends, family members, teachers, guidance counsellors, family doctors or a counsellor/ therapist. Remember that if you are feeling overwhelmed, you can reach out and talk to someone. Even if your friend refuses to get help, you can still get support for yourself while being there for them.
Read more self-care tips here https://mindyourmind.ca/wellness/self-care-while-helping-friend
Stay healthy, stay safe, stay kind ❤️