The Caretaker’s Needs: Self-care while your adolescent is in treatment

What to do for yourself when your child is in treatment

When your adolescent seeks a higher level of care, there is often a sense of relief that the teenager in your life is connected to a supportive environment that will allow for a space where the adolescent can begin addressing their needs. When a teen is accepted to a psychiatric day program or similar level of care, they are connected to professionals who can help them navigate the challenges impacting them and their current functioning. Often this comes after a time of some turmoil at home where the caregiver and the adolescent may have both experienced challenges.

As the caregiver you may have some natural reactions to this change – relief, concern, curiosity, or even frustration. Thankfully, many of the techniques your adolescent may be learning in treatment could also be helpful to you as you navigate supporting your teen through their experiences. 

The importance of Self-Care

Self-care is important throughout your life, but can be particularly soothing during times of transition, change, and/or stress. Self-care can be different for each person but refers to the idea of doing activities that restore your sense of wellbeing. Some popular forms of self-care include taking a warm, relaxing bath, meditation, yoga, or even something such as baking, creating abstract art, or taking a relaxing walk. Any activity that allows your mind or body to rest, re-engage, or revitalize can be helpful. During times of high stress, it can be tempting to focus on tasks and urgent matters or to increase productivity. However, rest and relaxation can allow you to face the challenges in your life with a more balanced approach, supporting your ability to make decisions from a more grounded perspective. This can make it easier for you to support your teen when you are not overextended yourself.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLS)

It is important that activities of daily living are not neglected during times of high stress. These activities include eating enough meals, daily hygiene, getting dressed and out of bed, and taking needed medications. You may want to be aware of how well you are sleeping, as well as usage of caffeine. Many caregivers still have daily duties to attend to while supporting their teens through treatment. It can be challenging to navigate the needs of your teen while additionally taking care of your own needs. Utilizing your own coping skills and peer support can be a valuable tool during this time.

As the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup. It is important to remember to support your own needs while supporting those of the adolescents in your life. If you are interested in learning more self-care tips, contact us today.

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