Who is a caregiver? A caregiver is "anyone who provides any type of physical and/or emotional care for an ill or disabled individual...". If you fit this description, and chances are you do, especially in today's society where the hospitals are releasing patients earlier and the elderly are living longer, you are a caregiver. With this role comes added stress and anxiety and often feelings of "doing it all". Despite how much you love the ones you care for, you must remember that it's vital to your health to take a break and rewind, relax, and recharge. Some ways to do that are:
Take a break. If you're able to get away and pamper yourself with a manicure, pedicure, massage, or facial this can do wonders for lifting your spirits. Catching a movie or grabbing lunch with a friend can help you reconnect and reduce feelings of isolation. As a caregiver, it's easy to have that role take center stage in your life, but don't loose touch with the people and activities you once enjoyed. Set aside regular time for yourself, even a night spent relaxing in a bath or with a good book can be so refreshing. Whatever it is you enjoy, be sure to continue while balancing your caregiver role.
Resolve feelings of guilt. Sometimes we focus on the things we can't do, rather than the things we can, and this leads to feelings of guilt or inadequacy. Understand that no one is a "perfect" caregiver and that it's impossible to "do it all", but you can always do your best and that's what's important. Providing quality, compassionate care and ensuring the safety and happiness of those you care for is what matters, but no one can realistically do everything on their own. Being willing to not only ask for help, but to accept it as well, can also reduce feelings of guilt as well as stress.
Prioritize your physical health. There are many benefits of regular physical activity. If the individual you care for is able to participate, include them in a regular exercise routine. Speak with their physician about their abilities and develop a program. This could include stretching and balancing, yoga, or even just a walk to the mailbox. Time spent outdoors can boost energy and brighten your day, so if you're able to spend more time outside work that into your schedule as often as possible. Setting goals for your personal health can help bring this aspect of your life into focus. Remember to be realistic when determining what goals you want to incorporate, such as getting enough sleep and fueling your body with nutritious foods. Making an appointment with your physician for recommended immunizations and screenings is important, and be sure to mention that you're a caregiver and discuss any concerns about your role you may have.
If you feel you may need additional help with your caregiving responsibilities, or even just a short break, we are here for you. We provide a wide range of care options and each client receives a free, no-obligation in-home consultation to assess needs and establish a customized care plan. We offer peace of mind while meeting our clients' needs and exceeding their expectations by setting standards in our industry and providing the best care possible. We would be happy to discuss any needs or concerns you may have regarding the care of your loved one, give us a call at (208)963-5655.