To be a caregiver, you have to have “care to give.” This means you need to take care of yourself because even though one of your main jobs is to “remain calm” but this can be hard. Here are some tips about how you can distress and avoid burnout.
Stay connected to your own life
Though you are an integral part of your senior’s life, you have friends of your own. This can be participating in social activities or engaging in a favorite pastime with others. Make sure you stay in touch with your friends and family members separate from your charge. Your work life or the time you spend caring for him or her should not be “all” of your life.
Ask for help
Though you may want to, you can’t do everything. No one can so don’t be afraid to ask for help. This may mean help from family members to share the burden but it may also mean that you need professional help. For health concerns, you should consult a health professional but other needs may also involve outside help. Your charge may benefit from community resources, visitors or even activities at a senior center. He or she may need encouragement to do things on their own. Whatever the case, ask for help if you are feeling overburdened.
Set aside time each day
Set aside half an hour for yourself each day. This should be spent in activities that you enjoy – whether it is knitting, playing with your dog, or exercising. You may want to do this with others but time alone will often help you reflect or just simply enjoy yourself without concern.
Focus on what you can control! Break tasks into small goals so that you can see progress, even if it is small. Choose how you wish to react to stressful situations so that you can stay in a calm state of mind.
Stay on top of your own health
You spend a lot of time worrying about your elder’s health, so much that you may neglect your own. Make sure you visit your doctor, take your medicine as prescribed, and get your immunizations on a routine basis. It doesn’t hurt to eat healthy and exercise too – if you get sick, you can’t be the caregiver.
Caregivers are so accustomed to caring for others, that sometimes it becomes easy to neglect themselves! Remember that even you, the caregiver, is not exempt from being cared for and it’s important to recognize your own limitations. Staying healthy and happy is key!
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