Being a caregiver requires a lot of physical and emotional energy. Because of the demands, caregivers often find themselves feeling quite stressed. When left unchecked, caregiver stress can cause physical and mental illness. That’s why it is important for caregivers to find ways to take care of themselves. Below are 5 things you can do to avoid caregiver stress and take better care of yourself.
#1: Be Kind to Yourself
Being kind to yourself means giving yourself the credit you deserve for everything you do as a caregiver. Recognize the hard work you put in every day and how much time and skill it requires. It also means giving yourself a break when you need it. Find ways to take a little time each day for yourself. Do something you enjoy or just spend the time relaxing. It may be hard to find the time to do that. Scheduling your “me time” every day can ensure that you do.
#2: Talk to Your Doctor
Okay, first things first, make the time to go to your regular doctor appointments. Many caregivers don’t. They become so focused on caring for their aging relative that they neglect their own health. While at your appointment, tell your doctor that you are a caregiver, so they are aware of the stress you are exposed to. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or other problems, talk about them. Depression can be treated.
#3: Learn to Say Yes to Help
Caregivers are helpers by nature, so many of them have a hard time accepting help from others. However, you should not try to do everything yourself, especially if you’re feeling exhausted. When your family members or friends ask you if they can help, say yes. You may want to keep a list of things you feel comfortable handing off. That way, when someone asks what they can do, you can give them a specific task to do.
#4: Consider Trying Yoga or Tai Chi
Yoga and tai chi are mind body practices that strengthen the body while also promoting relaxation through focused breathing. These kinds of exercises have been proven to have a positive effect on stress levels. You can take a class to learn how to do yoga or tai chi or you can use a video to teach yourself at home.
#5: Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating balanced, nutritious meals will support your overall health and give you the strength you need. It can also prevent you from getting ill. One way to ensure you take the time to make healthy meals is to also cook for yourself when you are cooking for your older family member.
If you are considering caregivers in Centerville, VA, for an elderly loved one, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers Home Care in Leesburg. (703) 297-4642.