If you or someone you know is acting as a caregiver to a family member, friend, or client then you are surely aware of the incredible dedication required to provide such services. While caregiving in itself is a rewarding experience, the physical and emotional demand on a single person can quickly become overwhelming. That is why it is so important for caregivers to find time in their busy schedules to relax and unwind,not only for their own good, but also for the good of the ones they are caring for.
Below are 10 helpful suggestions from Caring Home Care for ways you or someone you know can help relieve the stresses of caregiving.
1. Recognize the symptoms of stress.
Recognizing the signs of stress is the first step in taking action to relieve it. Symptoms of stress include headaches, insomnia, depression, eating problems, and much more. Dealing with these symptoms can make it difficult for caregivers to provide the level of service required of them. The first step to taking care of others is to take care of yourself.
2. Accept help from others.
It may often seem like the responsibility of caregiving is a one-person show, and in many respects, it is. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for help. Allowing friends or family to assist with tasks here and there can take a tremendous weight off your shoulders. Often caregivers avoid asking for help, because they’re afraid to leave their loved one in someone else’s hands. Caring Home Care specializes in providing experienced, qualified care that you can count on – whether you need temporary respite or a longer-term caregiving commitment.
3. Maintain a healthy diet.
The food we put into our bodies can have a greater effect on stress than we may think. It is important that the foods we choose to eat are ones which will promote a healthy lifestyle while still providing the fuel it takes to tackle the 24/7 tasks of caregiving. Leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, and lean meats all provide healthy boosts of energy. Avoid excess caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.
4. Exercise and stay in shape.
Exercising can be beneficial for so many reasons including improving overall health and, of course, relieving stress. By exercising, your body is releasing endorphins into your system that support positive moods and emotion. As well as keeping your body healthy, regular exercise also keeps your brain sharp, according to numerous studies.
5. Break monotonous routines.
Caregiving isn’t your average 9-5 workday. It’s a 7-day a week 24 hours a day dedication. With a workday like this, it’s easy for days to blur together in what can become a repetitive routine. One way to help relieve stress is to shake up your schedule a little. While routine IS important to maintain for continuity, for some people with memory disorders, small changes can be nice way to spice up the week. Try ordering take-out one night instead of cooking or perhaps play a game outdoors if the weather is nice.
6. Take up a hobby.
Exploring a hobby is a beneficial way to help combat the stresses of caregiving. Hobbies like gardening, crafts, and learning to play an instrument can give you valuable personal time to yourself. Letting your loved one get involved could also be a fun activity for them as well. Scrapbooking, for instance, is a wonderful way to preserve and discuss memories together, as well as promote some motor skills.
7. Confide in friends or family.
Often, caregiving is an isolating responsibility. Letting off some steam can be as easy as talking it out. Letting repressed thoughts and feelings pile up can cause anxiety and make you feel overburdened. Having someone simply there to listen to you can provide a great deal of comfort. Invite a friend over for a quick chat or give them a call after a busy day. There’s something to be said for laughter being the “best medicine” so seek out those friends with whom you can laugh.
8. Use online resources to stay informed and communicate with other caregivers.
There are many resources available today that are designed specifically to assist caregivers. You can use a forum to talk to other caregivers and discuss specific problems or concerns. If you are feeling stressed or dealing with an issue, odds are no one will understand better than other caregivers.
9. Acknowledge your own self-worth.
Whenever the day just seems too long and you feel like you can’t go on, take a minute to remember all the good you’ve done and how important your role as a caregiver is. By focusing on what you’ve accomplished instead of what you still need to do, you can raise your self-esteem and lessen worry about whatever needs to be done down the road. Journaling can be a great way to do this – if you aren’t a writer, just start with all that you’ve accomplished in the past month, week, or even day. If someone else showed you that list, wouldn’t you give them a pat on the back?
10. Visit www.caringhomecare.com
Caring Home Care has spent over eighteen years building a reputation based on the consistent delivery of superior home health care services. Visit their web site for more information on personal care assistance, respite care, and more. You can also follow Caring Home Care on Twitter @Caring_HomeCare and join our community on Facebook (link: https://www.facebook.com/CaringHomeCareInc).