Although caring for a loved one can be rewarding, it can also be stressful and overwhelming. Neglecting your own needs can lead to caregiver burnout and take a toll on your mental health, physical health and relationships. That’s why it’s vital to make sure you take care of yourself, especially if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed. There are a few simple things you can do to reduce stress and achieve a sense of balance and joy in your life.
Caregiving is often a long-term challenge, and if you don’t get the physical and emotional support you need, the stress of caring for a loved one can lead to problems such as exhaustion, anxiety and depression. Some other symptoms of caregiver burnout include:
It’s easy to feel powerless when your loved one is ill, and you feel like nothing will change. These empowering tips for self-care can help you find more happiness and joy in your life while allowing you to provide the care your loved one needs.
Take a break. Letting caregiving take over your life can leave you feeling stressed, depressed and physically ill. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family to take some of the weight off your shoulders by cooking a hot meal, running errands or staying with your loved one so you can have some well-deserved time off. Whether it’s in-home care, an adult day care center or nursing home care, professional respite care is also a good option to give you the time you need to relax and recharge. Spreading responsibilities around exposes your loved one to people and activities that may help them as well. Check in with friends and family occasionally, and be honest when they ask how you’re doing.
Take care of your physical health. Eating well, exercising and getting plenty of sleep can improve your mood, give you more energy and help you handle stress more easily. Meditation, deep breathing and yoga are powerful tools that can help you reduce stress and give your overall well-being a boost.
Do things you enjoy. Simple things like reading a book, gardening, taking a leisurely bath, or pampering yourself with a pedicure can go a long way to make you feel happier and more grounded. Laughter really is the best medicine – watching a funny movie or hanging out with a friend who makes you laugh will lift your spirits and help you find humor in everyday situations. Maintaining relationships and sharing your feelings with friends and family allows you to vent and keep a more positive outlook.
Join a support group. In-person and online caregiver support groups can help you find people who understand what you’re going through and let you know you’re not alone.
Seek counseling. Confiding in a therapist and being able vent without judgment can make you feel less isolated and allow you to cope with stress in a more positive manner. A skilled therapist can help you learn how to set boundaries, process your feelings, strengthen your problem-solving skills, and improve communication in your relationships.
The skilled counselors at Kayenta Therapy can help you develop the tools you need to live a happy, healthy life while caring for your loved one. Contact a therapist to schedule an appointment today.