The demands of caring for a loved one can easily be overwhelming. If you’re new to this situation, you may feel like you are in over your head or have little control over your situation. It can be a polarizing and an isolating feeling – and can eventually take a toll on your relationships and health if left unchecked.
If you reach the point of burnout, it’s tough to take care of yourself, let alone look after someone else. That’s why it is necessary to set up good habits as you start your caregiving journey to mitigate stress and maintain a sense of balance and joy in your life.
Let’s explore some suggestions on how to set yourself up to be a successful caregiver for the long-term.
Take Time for Yourself
It’s important to establish routines for yourself that involve activities outside of caregiving. It is very easy to lose yourself in caring for someone else, so be sure to set time aside (big and small) to recharge. This could be taking 10 minutes to do yoga before breakfast, going to dinner once a week with friends, or attending church on Sunday. Whatever helps you to feel like your best self should be continued as much as possible.
Know Your Limits
Be respectful of your own boundaries and know your body’s limits. When you are exhausted or overworked it can lead to a decline in your own health leaving you unable to care for your loved one. Establish healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious meals, drinking the recommended amount of water, and participating in regular exercise. If you feel extra stressed or as if you are reaching a breaking point, ask for help.
Ask for Help
Caring for a loved one with a chronic illness is impossible to do on your own. Taking on all of the responsibilities of caregiving without regular breaks is a recipe for burnout. Start by speaking to other family members or friends and being up front about what’s going on with your situation. If you have thoughts on how they can improve your situation, be sure to express them. If you are not able to rely on friends or family to assist, look into professional help – like respite care. Many senior living providers like Brickmont Assisted Living offer respite care to provide family caregivers a break and the senior with a safe environment, quality care, and social activities.
Along with asking for help, be sure to find a support network or group. There are many resources locally and online to connect you with other family caregivers, professional advice, and help. Support groups are a great way to share your troubles and find people who are going through similar experiences. Since caregiving can be such an isolating experience, it can be important to regularly be reminded you are not alone. It can be comforting to find others who are in the same situation.
Brickmont Assisted Living is here to help. We want to be a resource to the family caregivers throughout your caregiving journey and beyond. Please contact us to learn more about what we can do for your family.