For many caregivers, everyday tasks can be physically, mentally and emotionally draining. Taking care of someone else's needs for much of the day can take a major toll on how you feel, and it can leave very little time for you to take care of yourself. However, it is imperative that learn to practice self-care in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed for burned out.
One easy way to feel better is to combine physical and mental fitness. This means finding a workout that allows you to focus on inner peace, to have fun, or to get social with someone you enjoy spending time with. Joining these activities will keep you happy and relaxed while doing something great for your body, and they'll help you stay motivated too.
Here are a few of the best tips on how to practice self-care when your job is to take care of someone else.
Know the Signs of Stress
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of caregiver stress include:
- Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
- Feeling tired often
- Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep
- Gaining or losing weight
- Becoming easily irritated or angry
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling sad
- Having frequent headaches, bodily pain, or other physical problem
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to consider getting some help.
Let's face it: As much as you may try, it's just not possible to do everything yourself. Attempting to shoulder every responsibility that comes your way will only increase stress and anxiety, so learn how to delegate in order to take some of the burden off your shoulders. You might ask a friend to an errand for you or hire a dog-walker to come and take care of your pup while you are busy. This is a great way to get your dog some exercise an d attention when you have a long day ahead of you.
When you do get some time to yourself, make sure it's relaxing. Turn off electronics for a little while and read a good book, watch a movie, take a long hot bath or practice a hobby that eases tension, such as knitting or painting. Taking time for yourself isn't always easy, especially when you have a hundred chores waiting for you, but they'll still be there when you are ready to tackle them.
Find the Right Workout
The right workout can keep you fir and happy for years to come, so try a few different things to see which you might like best. You might start a swimming routine, or practice yoga; long walks with the dog might be your thing, or playing a sport. Whatever you choose, make sure it's something that brings you joy. This will keep you motivated and make the workouts fly by. Plus, these are all great activities for reducing stress because they promote mindfulness, or focusing on the present.
Caregiving can take a toll on you mentally and emotionally, sometimes it's important to be able to talk about your feelings and worries. Talk to a counselor, therapist of support group and find others who have been through the same things. Sometimes, having an outlet can help with feelings of stress or anxiety and can keep you going even when times are tough.
About the Author
Harry cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, "The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How Tos for Senior Caregivers" As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer caregivers everywhere help and support.