Coming to terms with the reality of being a caregiver for a loved one can be remarkably stressful. Whether they are dealing with old age accompanied by illness or an injury, a chronic disease, or mobility problems, caregivers can easily become exhausted and overly stressed. Tender Hearts at Home Senior Care offers tips for how to care for your loved one while also taking the time to care for yourself too.
What Isn't Working for Caregivers
There is no doubt that when it comes to caregivers, their lives are not as much of a priority as the lives of the person they are caring for. Often times, caretakers become so involved in their loved one’s wellbeing that they neglect to take care of themselves, usually resulting in exhaustion, depression or just lack of additional helping hands.
Not only does the inability to care for yourself affect your own wellbeing, but it also affects your ability to fully and properly care for your loved one.
The 10 Steps to Stress-Free Caregiving
Denying yourself some well-deserved “me time” is a sure fire way to add stress to your life. In order to provide the best possible care for yourself and the one you’re caring for, follow these ten steps and enjoy some of that hard earned you time!
- Daily Breaks. It goes without saying that you need a break. Make sure you allow yourself a little bit of time every day to relax. Maybe catch up on your favorite television shows or chat with a friend.
- Weekly Breaks. You can be a caregiver and have a life too. Make sure to have at least one day each week where you spend the day focusing on your own needs and your happiness.
- Hired Helpers. If you are the sole caregiver of your loved one, don’t be hesitant to reach out for some professional help so you can keep your mental sanity. There are many professional caregiving services that have affordable and reputable caregiving options to offer you some respite.
- Exercise. We all know that a healthy mind needs a healthy body. Be sure to exercise regularly to lower your stress levels and keep yourself healthy! The hormones that are released when you exercise are the best natural ways to cure stress.
- Healthy Diet. The better you eat, the better you will perform. A healthy diet will give you the most energy for caregiving. Eating lots of junk food with little to no nutritional value might boost your blood sugar in the short term, but it will also lead you to crash earlier in the day.
- Don’t Miss the Z’s. It’s hard to care for someone if you can’t keep your eyes open. Be sure to make sure you get enough sleep as well to be fully energized and ready to help your loved one.
- Support Groups. Despite what you think, you are not alone. Join a local support group to help you through the tough times. It might amaze you to realize how many people even have it worse than you do! And, a support community could be an excellent resource for you should an emergency arise.
- Care Managers. We all want the best care possible for our loved ones. Geriatric Care Managers will help ensure that your loved one truly is getting the best care.
- Attorneys. These times may be stressful and financially tight. Elder Law Attorneys can make these financial situations a bit easier to navigate and less stressful. They can also help protect you and your loved ones from being vulnerable to bad decision making.
- Helping Hands. Your community can be more helpful than you think! Reach out to volunteers in your area and you may be pleasantly surprised with your new support system.
Caregiving is no easy task, but with the right guidance to care for oneself, life may be a bit less stressful. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Remember, we can’t help others unless we help ourselves too!