Balancing Your Life Out When You’re a Stressed Caregiver
Caregivers commonly “give too much” when caring for their senior loved ones and neglect their own well-being in the process. Many experience what’s dubbed Caregiver Stress Syndrome (CSS), a near-constant state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. If you’re one such stressed caregiver, it’s crucial you balance your life out and ensure the care you provide doesn’t come at the expense of your needs. Below, Northfield Retirement Communities offers some suggestions on how you could practically do so:
Don’t Neglect Your Needs
It’s okay to put your needs first, without experiencing guilt. It’s only when you’re in good health can you care for someone else. You could put a self-care routine in place where you follow activities for your mental, physical, and emotional health. Some examples are eating nutritious food, having nature walks, meditating, and getting a few hours of exercise each week.
Create A Strong Support Network
You shouldn’t shoulder your caregiving responsibilities alone. You could get your loved ones involved and ask them to pick up some of your tasks, whether that’s household chores or actual caregiving. Furthermore, consider joining a caregiving support group. You will get access to helpful caregiving resources, receive practical assistance, and interact with people who understand what you’re going through.
Learn Ways To Reduce Stress
When stress piles up and isn’t actively managed, it can cause a variety of health problems such as high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and weight fluctuations. The Journal of Primary Care & Community Health has found a link between high stress and heart conditions. As such, you should learn ways to actively reduce stress. Some suggestions are breathing better, pursuing a hobby you enjoy, reading a book, and taking regular breaks.
Find Ways To Reduce Your Burden
There may be ways to make caregiving easier, so you invest less time and energy than usual. The NMEDA offers some suggestions, which include using technology, informing yourself of the most efficient caregiving techniques, getting help from experts, and picking up caregiving gadgets. Also, don’t forget to encourage independence from your loved one (it’s always in everyone’s best interest if your senior loved one looks after their own needs as much as possible).
Make Time For Yourself
It’s important that you make time for yourself, something in addition to self-care time. You likely have personal desires and goals, whether that’s getting promoted, finding a new job, having a relationship, traveling, or something else. You’ll have a much easier time with caregiving if you feel like the rest of your life is progressing well, and that you aren’t held back by your caregiving duties.
Do You Need Professional Support?
If your senior loved one is having a hard time with ADLs, it could be that they need more support than a single caregiver (you) can provide. As such, you may want to find a different living arrangement for them. This could be short-term rehabilitation while they recover from an injury or something longer-term, like assisted living in a senior care facility. Northfield Retirement Communities offers skilled nursing & rehabilitation services that are worth exploring.
Move To A Less Difficult Job
Last, but not least, if you’re an unpaid caregiver who is juggling a demanding job with your caregiving duties, it may be a good idea to find a less taxing job. You don’t necessarily need to leave your current position immediately, you could send out resumes to see if something sticks. You can create a stellar and professional-looking resume by utilizing a free online resume template. You can choose from a library of professionally-designed resume templates, and then add your own copy, photos, and colors. Here’s a possible solution.
You could also always go back to school to sharpen your skills if you’d like a different job in a new field. Look for an online program that also offers industry certification exams to make yourself more marketable. For instance, if you’d like to pursue a career in IT, then earning a degree along with certification will give you more opportunities and skills.
Caregiving can only be sustainable long-term if your life is balanced out and in order in other ways – you’ll burn yourself out otherwise, like too many caregivers do. That means you should look after your health and pursue your life goals, whether that’s having a new career, going back to school, or whatever else you find fulfilling.
Northfield Retirement Communities offers trustworthy and professional rehabilitation, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and other specialty aging services. Call 308.632.4342 for more information.