Today, Tuesday, June 7, 2022, is World Caring Day, I must admit that there are no more caring individuals in the world than caregivers! Caring is what they do day and night, and in some cases, 24/7/365.
Whether a caregiver is a family member, friend, private or professional, he or she pours their heart and soul into their job to make sure the person in their charge is properly cared for and has everything they need to remain independent at home for as long as possible.
I have had the pleasure of employing and working with hundreds of caregivers in my career, and they have each demonstrated their willingness to put others ahead of themselves with levels of compassion that are not commonly seen in today’s world.
Caregiving comes at a price, though, and I’m not talking about the cost of care. Caregivers who continually put others first often become heavily burdened which takes a toll on their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
The American Heart Association recognizes this and they have disclosed 10 self-care tips for caregivers to keep them balanced, healthy, and happy in their chosen career!
- Stay Physically Active. Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity — even in small increments — can boost your energy level. Exercise reduces stress, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and can help you keep your blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels. Walking is a great way to get started, even if you only walk around the yard.
- Eat a Heart Healthy Diet. A healthy diet will give you more energy. Eating well can help prevent other health problems, too. If you have to “eat on the run,” try to choose nutritious snacks.
- Make Time for You. Take time every day for an activity you enjoy, such as reading, walking, crafts, cooking or listening to music. Whatever makes you happy and relaxes you can be therapeutic.
- Laughter is Good Medicine. It’s true — laughter is good medicine. Try to find humor in your life every day. Watch a silly TV program or go to a movie that tickles your funny bone. Find things to laugh about with the loved one in your care — that person needs joy, too.
- Get Out and Enjoy Yourself. At least once a week, break out of your routine and go somewhere enjoyable. Visit the local coffee shop, attend religious events, take a class, visit a friend or just wander around the mall. If your loved one needs constant attention, ask for help. It’s likely that someone will be happy to give up an hour or two a week so that you can get out for a breath of fresh air.
- Stay Cognizant of Depression. The demands placed on you as a caregiver can be difficult and stressful. If you are experiencing signs of signs of depression, talk to your health care professional. Often, depression can be managed with talk therapy or medication.
- Attend to Personal Business. Keep your finances in check, work when you need to and don’t stop planning for the future. If you allow yourself to be totally immersed in your caregiver responsibilities, it can be harder to re-integrate into life later on. Keep living.
- Take Care of Yourself. Do all you can to maintain your health. If you’re sick, you won’t be able to care for your loved one. Ask for help when you need it so you can get away for your own medical appointments and take care of your health and well-being.
- Stay Positive. Take time every day to refresh your mind. Recognize your limitations and make peace with them. Let go of guilt. Pat yourself on the back for the job you’re doing. If you’re feeling guilty or angry, take a break.
- Maintain Connections with the Outside World. Don’t allow yourself to become isolated. Stay connected with family and friends, even if it’s just by phone or online. Talk to friends about something other than your role as a caregiver.
If you are a caregiver, I encourage you to take heed of these important tips and share them with other caregivers you know. It is very important that you take care of yourself and routinely prioritize your own needs to avoid burnout, isolation, and depression. A little self-care will go a long way to help you maintain a healthy quality of life, sustain your professional fulfillment, allow you to perform at your best for the clients in your charge.
If you are interested in becoming a caregiver, I welcome you to learn more about Home Helpers® and complete an application. Serving families in their homes is a special calling, and I am grateful to continually attract talented, committed people to our senior care employment opportunities.
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award 2016-2022 and the Best of Home Care® Employer of Choice Award 2022. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson, and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539
American Heart Association