12 Ways to Care for Yourself While Caring for Someone with Mental Illness

4. Find a Safe Place to Talk.

When someone you love is struggling, it helps to have another person you can talk to. Choose someone whom you can trust—someone who has your best interests and the best interests of your loved one at heart, whether a friend, bishop, or family member. Or perhaps it’s a therapist who could provide a listening ear as well as some helpful feedback.

It could also help to find a support group in your area for individuals whose loved ones are facing similar struggles. You might also consider using a journal as one of your safe places. 

5. Make Positive Connections and Memories.

When times get particularly hard, the more pleasant parts of your relationship can easily end up neglected or even forgotten. Make a point of connecting with them in small, positive ways whenever possible.

Simple acts of love are good for them and for you because they bring a much-needed sense of normalcy to the relationship. You may not always know when the next challenging period will come, but you will both benefit—in good times and bad—from taking advantage of every opportunity for sharing sunshine.

6. Give Yourself a Break.

When things are tough, it’s easy to go into survival mode, doing whatever you can to help your loved one while keeping your own head above water. If you want to avoid burnout, or recover from it, give yourself some breaks to recharge. Your time-outs can be as simple as a good book, a movie, or lunch with a friend.

If your loved one is going through an especially difficult time, make sure that someone is available to help them as needed, so you can take your break without excessive worry or guilt. It can be hard to allow yourself to take such time, but take it, and take it regularly if possible because you’ll come back refreshed and more ready to support your loved one.

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