Caregiver burnout is the term used to describe the emotional, physical and mental fatigue that often comes with the territory when you care for elderly loved ones. As the stress mounts, symptoms can start to surface in the form of exhaustion, mood swings, loss of interest in your hobbies and even withdrawal from family and friends.
While it might not seem possible to take a vacation from your caregiver responsibilities, it is actually more accessible than you might think. Taking a “staycation,” or a vacation that you take at home, can be just as relaxing and rejuvenating. And you don’t even have to leave your house!
Take A Staycation at Home
Indulging in a staycation can do wonders for caregiver stress. With a little bit of planning and the right supplies, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of a vacation without spending the money or worrying about what to do with the loved one you care for while you are away.
Before starting your staycation, you need to set some ground rules to ensure that you can feel just as relaxed as you would on vacation:
- Tell people you are going away, just as you would as if you were getting on a plane and leaving the country. It will help to create a boundary so that you can enjoy some alone time.
- Keep your phone on silent all weekend. Also limit your internet and email usage for the weekend. A digital detox is an important component to becoming emotionally grounded again. If you need to check in, set specific times in the morning and afternoon that are dedicated just for that.
- Do something to make the occasion feel special. If you were planning a beach vacation, would you buy a new dress? Or a new pair of sneakers to go on a hiking trip? Indulge in purchasing a little something for yourself--after all, you’re saving a ton of money by not actually going on vacation!
Ideas For A Staycation
Spa Day. Spa services are indulgent and expensive, but also a great way to combat against caregiver burnout. The good news about taking a staycation is that you can have all the relaxation without the expense! It’s easy to plan a spa day at home--all you need are some candles, a bathtub and some mellow tunes.
Start by dimming the lights, slipping into a comfortable bathrobe and lighting some candles. Try to make your own body scrub using ingredients from the kitchen and then enjoy a long soak in the tub. There are also plenty of other ways to have DIY spa day at home.
Beach Weekend. It turns out you don’t actually need the beach to have a fun beach weekend! All you need are some beach chairs, a good book, some ocean sounds and an umbrella-garnished cocktail to kiss your caregiver stress goodbye.
Of course, in good weather, you can have a beach day in your backyard, but if the weather sends you indoors all is not lost. You can still wear your favorite bathing suit, and sit in a beach chair in your living room reading a new book and sipping a pina colada.
Yoga Retreat. You don’t have to pay a lot of money to attend a yoga or meditation retreat--you can enjoy the same benefits from your own home. The first step towards achieving the serenity that comes along with a yoga retreat is to create a calm environment. Choose one room to create your sanctuary for the weekend and invest in a calming scented candle or incense.
Once your room is set up, you can stream yoga classes or guided meditations online throughout the weekend. A vital component to a successful DIY yoga retreat is also making sure that you are eating right and getting enough sleep. Together, all of these aspects will leave you feeling very zen.
Peace of Mind, Body and Spirit
When you care for elderly family members, the hardest part about taking a vacation--or even a staycation--can be the worry you feel about leaving them alone for a period of time.
Whether you take a vacation away from home or take a weekend off to enjoy a staycation, you can rest assured knowing that your loved one has a Medical Guardian medical alert device. They’ll have access to round-the-clock care, so you can indulge in some much needed self-care.