Caring for Yourself While Caring for Others
Caregiving can be a challenging role for anyone, no matter if you’re a professional or caring for a loved one. To be the best caregiver you can be, take time to take care of yourself too!
Make Time for Yourself
Caring for someone is not an easy role to take on, so make sure to set realistic expectations for yourself. If you start feeling anger and frustration, these could be signs you’re getting overwhelmed
Schedule a few 10-minute breaks throughout the day and make sure to stick to them! You can use these short breaks to practice a breathing exercise, read a book, or listen to your favorite playlist. When you feel refreshed, you will be able to approach any challenge in a more positive way.
Mind Your Body
Taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury; you need to take care of your body so it can function properly. Have you eaten well today? Are you well hydrated? Fuel your body with the nutrients it needs and try not to skip meals, even if you feel pressed for time.
If your work is physically demanding, make sure to stay active. Squeeze in time for enjoyable exercises like taking a walk, releasing tension at a yoga class, or simply stretching at home.
Don’t Discount Your Emotions
Caregiver burnout is real, and not surprisingly, it’s quite common. It’s a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that can leave you feeling anxious, fatigued, stressed, and depressed – and it can make you feel like your compassion has dried up.
Caregiver burnout affects both your body and your mind. Some of the most recognizable symptoms include:
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and other loved ones
- Loss of interests in activities you used to enjoy
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Getting sick more often
- A general feeling of hopelessness and helplessness
By following the tips above, you may be able to keep yourself feeling recharged and healthy. If it’s still too much, it might be time to admit that you need help.
Caregivers Need Help Too
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help or accepting help. Allow others to be there for you and take care of you. You can join a caregiver support group or check-in with your doctor to make sure you’re in good health.
However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and start believing that you may not be able to continue to do the job on your own, it may be time to seek outside resources. Coordinate with your loved one’s family doctor – they can make recommendations based on the unique needs of the person you’re caring for.
AltaMed is Here for You
Contact us to see how we can help. In addition to primary care and specialty physicians to help you and your loved ones grow healthy and stay healthy at every age, we also offer a wide variety of services for seniors. We can help coordinate care and treatment, and we may be able to help identify community services that can lighten your load. And the AltaMed PACE is a program that helps keep seniors with complex medical needs healthy and independent at home. Call us today: we’re here for you.