5 Easy Ways Caregivers can Care for Themselves
Becoming a caregiver for a loved one is a huge decision. Being able to care for and help family in a time when they need it is a no-brainer for a lot of people. That’s what you do when family needs you.
Things start out fine, but after a while, it’s only natural to start feeling run down and, worse, you run the risk of caregiver burnout. Reaching the stage where you feel burnt out is something that is best avoided.
Luckily, there are things that you can do as a caretaker to prevent burnout from setting in. And, best of all, these are all things that can be done easily, without having to sacrifice a lot of time (that you like don’t have to sacrifice).
1. Ask for help
This is one is huge. It’s the simplest, most effective way to help mitigate burnout and so many people just don’t do it.
Asking for help is one of the simplest ways to care for yourself while caring for someone else. You don’t necessarily need to ask for help with the caregiving (although you can), but a little bit of help in some other aspect of your life goes a long way.
We are surrounded by people in our lives who can help us out. From friends to family, there is a network of people out there who can help us if we just ask.
Have someone pick up the slack around the house, by asking kids or partners to help out a little bit more, for example. Taking even one task off your workload makes a huge difference.
Meditation is another simple thing that can have huge impact on your well-being. Setting aside a few minutes a day, as few as five minutes, can help you find a bit of calm, bring your stress levels down and help you feel more in control of your life.
Meditation is great because it can be done easily. In its most basic form, all you need to do is close your eyes and think about nothing for a while (or focus on your breathing).
Some people find it easier to meditate through the use of guided meditation apps on a phone or tablet. They’re also a great way to help you find some calm. There’s a wide variety of apps out there and they’re available for all device types.
3. Take breaks
We can’t be on all the time. This is hard for some people to admit, but we need to take a few minutes every now and then to stop doing what we’re doing and just breathe.
Breaks are fantastic things. They can help us solve problems better, refresh our minds, help us feel more motivated and all kinds of other amazing benefits. The temptation is always there to just power through what you’re doing and take some time off when you’re finished, but all too often you never feel like you’re finished. That feeling of needing to do more and more persists and we just never take a break.
Try setting an alarm to remind yourself to take five minutes every day just to do nothing (or enough time to go for a quick walk). You’ll be amazed how help that few minutes can be.
4. Get some exercise
This one takes a bit more time and dedication, but you get out of it what you put into it.
Even when you’re not stressed out, exercise is great for your brain. Ask anyone who has some kind of routine how it makes them feel and they’ll talk your ear off about how great it is.
Exercise doesn’t just keep your body in shape, it keeps your mind active, too. Finding the time to exercise can be a challenge, at first, but eventually it becomes second nature. Doing something easy from home, like a yoga routine you found on YouTube, is an excellent way to get started with a simple routine like that. Even 20 minutes helps.
5. Outsource some tasks
Similar to the first point, getting help can make all the difference in the world when it comes to avoiding caregiver burnout. Unlike the first point, this isn’t so much about asking for help, as hiring help.
This doesn’t have to involve spending a lot of money hiring a nurse for your loved ones. It can be something simple, like using a service that provides ready to cook meals, or getting the neighbour kid down the street to cut your grass.
On their own, tasks like this aren’t too much handle, but once you add caregiving into the mix, everything about how you spend your time changes and these little tasks add up fast.
You can also consider outsourcing aspects of caregiving, like medication management. PocketPills, for example, can reduce the amount of time you spend worrying about which medications have been taken, whether or not renewals have been filled and you never have to visit the pharmacist again, because all your medication is delivered right to your door. We make all of this possible through a single log in, as well. You can manage the medication of multiple family members at once, without having to switch accounts.
Take care of yourself!
However you decide to to find time for yourself, it’s important that you do. Taking care of ourselves is every bit as important as being a caregiver and looking after your loved ones.
Find a way to help relieve the burden and, if there’s a way we can help, just let us know. We’re here to help people like you care for those you love.