Some of you may have become a caregiver overnight. Others may have been a caregiver for a very long time. In both instances, caregiver burnout is part of the process and daily routine. Some caregivers perform their part full-time and others have some help from family members, relatives, or friends. But not everyone gets that help. Many people are the primary caregivers taking care of their elderly loved ones or a senior with serious health concerns.
What Is Caregiver Burnout?
According to Cleveland Clinic, Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. Stressed caregivers may experience fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Those who are caring for their loved ones at home may be doing double the work. Keeping the house clean, cooking, performing other chores along with care giving. Such caregivers tend to feel the caregiver burnout more and may feel depressed or exhausted with very low motivation to engage in activities they enjoy.
How to Make Life Easier for a Caregiver?
If you are a caregiver yourself or if you know someone who is managing everything alone, how can you make life easier for them? As a caregiver, how can you manage to take a few moments out of the hectic routine to find a balance or feel energized? There are many small activities that we may take for granted because you just don’t have the time. But you may be surprised!
Here is a list of helpful activities that can alleviate stress and help you feel inspired. You can do it in bits and pieces, one day at a time, and see how these fit into your schedule. Self-care can last for even 5 minutes and may leave you to feel energized. Go ahead, read the ideas and see what works best for you or someone you know:
Go for a Walk
It may like a simple activity, but it works wonders. Walking is known to lower stress levels and improve mood. You don’t need any fancy equipment, you don’t have to drive to the gym, and you don’t have to leave your loved one for too long. Walking has also been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep you mentally sharp. If you feel you can never leave your senior loved one alone, take advantage of the time when someone comes over to visit. While your friend or relative is giving your elderly some company, step out into the open air and breathe deeply. Taking those moments to step away for some time will help you feel refreshed.
What Are the Benefits Associated With Meditation?
Meditating is hard for a lot of people because it requires complete concentration for the given moment. But it doesn’t need to be so complicated. You don’t need anything you don’t have. All you need is a quiet spot and focus your attention. If you need help with the practice of meditation, download apps on your phone that can help you through the process. Meditation has a ton of benefits:
- Promotes emotional health
- Helps with self-awareness
- Generates kindness
- Helps control anxiety
- Reduces stress
- Has a calming effect
Click here to find some of the best meditation apps to help with anxiety, depression or stress
Why Should You Take Out Time to Read?
Reading is a great way to divert your mind and it reduces stress as well. Mentally stimulating reads can benefit your mental health but if you’d rather opt for light reading material, you can download a bunch of e-books on your phone or other reading devices. Reading will help tired caregivers focus on something other than their daily activities. You can also read about other caregiver stories such as Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. Put on your cozy socks and relax with a good book!
Talk to Your Friend
Caregivers may get distant from their family or friends because they feel too overwhelmed. You may feel like they won’t understand what you are going through, or maybe you feel guilty for sharing your true emotions. Friendships are often tested when one becomes a caregiver. But how will you know who your true friends are if you don’t share? Call your friend, have a catch-up session, even if it’s a short meeting. Talk to them, share your feelings, you never know they may offer a positive insight into something troubling you. If you don’t have time to meet, send them an email or text. Take a step towards them and share your new hobby, discuss the latest news, this will help you divert your mind! FaceTime is another great alternative if you can’t meet your friends in person!
Watch Your Favorite Show
Catching up on your favorite show may help you unwind and relax. If you want to do this activity with your senior loved one, you can catch shows on Netflix that would be perfect for both of you! If you want to unwind by yourself, kick back and watch something you enjoy. These top five movies for caregivers might be a good place to start!
Eat a Balance Diet:
Many caretakers and caregivers tend to neglect their health because of the hectic routine. It is also easy to resort to fast food when you are busy or stressed. Eating a well balanced nutritious diet is the best way to feel energized and healthy. Do you feel there’s no time to cook? Do you have craving for sweet items or sugar when you are feeling low? When you reach out for unhealthy items, mindfully replace those foods with soup, smoothie, fruit or steamed vegetables. There are so many great resources online that can guide you on how to fix easy, quick and healthy meals. For instance, make some extra oatmeal the night before so you can have that in morning or make a jar of chia seed pudding and store it in the fridge. It provides a healthy alternative to processed snacks. Do you have other quick and easy healthy meal ideas? Leave a comment and let us know!
It is a known fact that art has healing and therapeutic advantages. If the canvas or a set of paints overwhelms you, just take a piece of paper and start sketching. There is no right or wrong method of sketching. Sketching and drawing is a great way to express yourself. You can draw your day, see what it looks like on paper and then slowly approach paints. Making art increases feelings of pleasure and happiness while reducing anxiety, stress and caregiver burnout.
Write Down your Feelings
Writing has proven to be cathartic for many people. Writing is a form of expression and if you don’t want to share your feelings and thoughts with anyone else, write them down in the form of notes, poems, recollections or memoir. You can create your caregiver diary or you can start an Instagram account with expressive photos, short notes or poems. You can share what you feel and maybe others will start doing the same. Many bloggers started their accounts to share what was on their mind and they gained a large following because others could relate to them. An expression is a form of art, so go ahead and explore what you can do with your experiences and lessons.
Are You Part of Caregiving Forums/ Chats?
Care giving forums are great for the exchange of ideas, solutions, and problems. You can ask others who are going through the same phase and/ or empathize with them. Caregiver forums and caregiver chat groups are perfect for those who can not step out quite often, they can browse through the topics online and see what suits them most. Many caregivers, family members, relatives, and friends find it beneficial to use these chat rooms as a caregiver resource because of the range of topics covered in the chat sessions. They can connect with others and learn useful information that can help them in their daily life.
Do you have any other ideas that we can add to our list? Please leave a comment and let us know.
Related: Are you looking for Gift Ideas for Caregivers? Click here.