When you are a caregiver it can be difficult to find the time to nurture yourself. You devote a lot of time and energy to your loved one or client, but when it comes time for self-care there isn’t enough water in the well.
Here are five things you can do to avoid caregiver fatigue, preserve your own spirit and reduce and manage your stress.
1. Take a Break
Most caregivers experience depression, anxiety and mood swings at some point. That’s because being a caregiver is extremely stressful. You are charged with the care of someone else as well as yourself. But taking a break whenever you can is imperative. If possible, call a trusted family member or friend and ask if they can take over for you for an hour or two here and there so that you can go for a walk, catch a movie or a play or just so you can get away and do nothing if you like.
2. Join a Support Group
A support group can be a valuable asset in managing your stress levels and giving you a safe space to vent your frustrations and concerns. A support group can also give you some additional resources that can help make your role as a caregiver less stressful or a little easier. There are social media groups that you can join if going to a support group isn’t an option for you.
3. Invest in Yourself
Make yourself a priority. Setting realistic goals like exercising a set amount of time each week, getting enough rest each night, drinking more water, regular meditation, etc. will energize you. As a caregiver, your health is very important. If you aren’t well, you won’t be able to fulfill your role as a caregiver. Self-care is a very important part of everyone’s life, and maybe a little more so for those of us who are caregivers.
4. Outsource When You Can
Sometimes you just need help. There are plenty of online resources like Family Care Navigator that you can use to locate some help for your loved one. Taking advantage of some of these resources can give you a little more space to be yourself and not the role of caregiver.
5. Keep a Journal
A journal can be anything you want it to be. You can use it as a way to vent your frustrations or change your perspective on life and being a caregiver. A journal can also be beneficial in recalling the day’s events should you need to recount certain information of medical providers. Keeping a gratitude journal can do a lot to shift the way you look at the world and your role as a caregiver. You write down three to five specific things you are grateful for each day. It helps you to identify the positive and to focus on what really matters.
There are plenty of ways to make sure that your pitcher stays full enough to fill other glasses. You don’t have to be tired, angry or stressed all of the time, you can make yourself a priority and still be a compassionate caregiver. There is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to live a full and happy life as a caregiver, these tips can make a big change in the way you interact with yourself and your loved one.