If you’re currently experiencing caregiver stress, try the following caregiver survival tools suggested by Home Instead Senior Care:
1. Work Out: Exercise and enjoy something you like to do (walking, dancing, biking, running, swimming, etc.) for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times per week. Consider learning a stress-management exercise such as yoga or tai-chi, which teaches inner balance and relaxation
2. Meditate: Sit still and breathe deeply with your mind as “quiet” as possible whenever things feel like they are moving too quickly or you are feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a caregiver. Many times you will feel like you don’t even have a minute to yourself, but it’s important to walk away and to take that minute.
3. Ask for Help: To avoid burnout and stress, you can enlist the help of other family members, friends, and/or consider hiring a professional non-medical caregiver for assistance. There is no need to feel guilty for reaching out.
4. Take a Break: Make arrangements for any necessary fill-in help (family, friends, volunteers or professional caregivers). Take single days, a weekend, or even a week’s vacation; just make sure you line up your support system so you can be confident that your loved one is safe and happy. And when you’re away, stay away. Talk about different things, read that book you haven’t been able to get to, see a movie. Only a real break will renew and refresh you.
5. Eat Well: Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins – including nuts and beans – and whole grains. Indulging in caffeine, fast food and sugar as quick “pick-me-ups” also produce quick “let-downs.”
6. Take Care of Yourself: Just like you make sure your loved one gets to the doctor regularly, make sure you get your annual check-up. Being a caregiver provides many excuses for skipping your necessary check-ups, but you cannot and should not compromise your health.
7. Indulge: Treat yourself to a foot massage, manicure, nice dinner out or a concert to take yourself away from the situation and to reward yourself for the wonderful care you are providing to your aging relative. You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to feel good.
8. Find Support: Find a local caregiver support group, which will help you understand that what you are feeling and experiencing is normal for someone in your position. This is a place to get practical advice from people who are in your situation and to bounce off those feelings of stress, since everyone is likely to be in the same situation and can empathise.
- For further information on home help options and more great tips from our blog, visit our website at www.homeinstead.ie or call us on 1890 930 013.