Friday, January 15, 2010

Step #6 Of Living A Balanced Life

According to NAMI's Family-to-Family program, there are seven principles for caregivers to live a balanced life. The first, second, third, fourth, and fifth principles were highlighted in previous blog posts.

Principle #6 is : Continue pursuing your own interests.

Caring for a loved one with mental illness is an incredibly important role in the life of a family member. The caregiver is an integral part of their loved one's well being and recovery, and it is important to keep emotional reserves full to handle the inevitable challenges.

One key way to do this is to pursue your own interests. Often, caregivers feel guilty taking time for themselves to do something they enjoy. However, filling up one's own reserves by engaging in rewarding activities is a vital part of a well-balanced life.

What is it that you enjoy doing outside of home and work? What activity engages you? Is there something you've been meaning to learn about? Is there a hobby or activity you used to enjoy but stopped doing?

In pursuing something for oneself, a caregiver is taking essential steps in offering the loved one a well-rounded, whole person.

For information on mental illness and support for family members, visit the NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania website.