Caregivers are a great welcome to many families who would otherwise be lost when it came to caring for their loved ones. But who looks after the caregivers when they start to get overwhelmed?
As a caregiver, it is important that you take care of yourself first. If you are stressed and burnt out, you are not going to be any help to anyone. Keeping a positive outlook is a great place to start.
Know You Make a Difference
It can be easy to get lost in your own world. Once you start to get burnt out, you can start to find fault with everything you do. Make sure you take a step back and realize how much good you do as a caregiver.
The people you care for depend on you and you provide a great service. They may not be able to live at home without your help, so always remember that you matter in the lives of those you help.
Take Care of Yourself
You need to take care of yourself before anyone else can truly benefit from your help. Once you begin to feel stressed out, it won’t take long before you are unable to care for anyone else, let alone yourself.
Get a good night’s sleep. This is the best place to start. Without proper sleep, you will quickly start to burn out and will not be able to function.
Eat properly. A balanced diet keeps your mind and body working together. It may be more difficult to get a proper meal while you are working, but make the time when you are off duty. Not just fast food.
Take time off. You need to have time away from your work. Make sure you take time for yourself, go out with friends, and see your family. Do things you really enjoy, regardless of what that is.
Get some kind of exercise. This can be doing a yoga class online, taking an early morning walk before work, or going out dancing for an evening with your friends.
Recognize When You Are Burning Out
It’s very natural for you as a carer to become stressed and have negative thoughts. It’s important that you recognize these and know the difference between being stressed in the moment and something more long-lasting.
Negative thoughts can get bigger and lead you to depression and anger. This is a sign you need to take a break. If it is in the moment, stop what you are doing and take a minute or more to recompose yourself.
Share Your Experiences
It’s very helpful for you to talk about what it is you are experiencing. Talking to your family may be enough, but often people find it more helpful to talk to someone who understands how you feel.
Meeting up with other caregivers is a great way to not only vent about how you feel but to learn more coping tips and strategies. They will have insights you may not and you can share your own coping tips.
Ask for Help
There is no shame in realizing you need help. You need to talk to someone about covering for you. If you are the sole care provider, then turn to a service or agency for help.
If you have siblings or other family members that can pitch in, then make sure you ask them and let them know how important it is that everyone shares the responsibility.
If you are already caring for your own family, then you have enough to do. If your loved one needs more care as time goes on, then you should consider hiring a professional caregiver to ease the load.
Another great way to make sure your family member is protected is to consider a medical alert system. This can allow them and you a bit of freedom.
Worn as a pendant or wristband, a medical alert system is connected directly to emergency services, and they will arrive within minutes of being alerted if they are needed. This will give you and your loved one peace of mind and security to allow you both to live your lives and still know help is there.