Becoming a caregiver can be a different experience for everyone. You may have always expected you would provide care for a parent or family member one day, or the need for care can come as a surprise after a sudden cancer diagnosis. No matter how you start your role as a caregiver, the dangers of stress and mental fatigue are always immense. That’s why you need some self-care steps to keep yourself grounded and prevent yourself from burning out.
Don’t Feel Guilty for Asking for Help
When you become a caregiver, your daily routine suddenly centers around the needs of the person you love. Fulfilling all your new responsibilities as a caregiver and juggling household tasks can leave you with absolutely no time for yourself. So, seek out help with work around the house to protect the time you need for self-care.
Cleaning up around your house can be a big burden, so think about looking for a local house cleaner who can take this job off of your regular to-do list. It can also be a challenge to find time to take care of even simple daily tasks such as shopping for groceries. Luckily, many stores are now offering grocery pick-up and delivery to make stocking up on the necessities easier. Take advantage of these conveniences as you adjust your life as a caregiver.
Take Some Meaningful Time Away
It may seem silly to think about taking time off when you’ve just started being a caregiver. The risks, however, for caregiver burnout are very real for those who do not take meaningful time away. Some common symptoms of burnout include loss of sleep, feelings of depression, and a general sense that you have lost control of your own life. Those are some pretty serious emotions to deal with, which is why it’s important to schedule some time to administer self-care. You should step away from caregiving every now and then, and use that time to let go of stress and refresh yourself. It’s okay to have some feelings of guilt but try to resolve these by asking family members and close friends to help. Think about using those breaks for something positive, such as a meditation retreat or a spa day, and know that you deserve this care.
Find Routines That Relieve Stress
Taking time off can help you deal with stress, but it is not a total solution for releasing the tensions of being a caregiver. You still need some daily self-care routines to help you process any negative feelings and bring a sense of stability to your mind. Yoga and meditation can be extremely helpful for new caregivers, so think about starting a practice together. It’s fairly simple to begin a regular routine, and those with physical limitations can even try restorative yoga poses without risking pain or injury. Keep in mind, however, that complicated poses and breathing are not essential elements of yoga and meditation. What is most important is that you practice every day, so set up a dedicated space inside your home where you can get away and get relaxed for a half hour or so each day.
Protect Your Own Physical Health
Yoga is a great start in maintaining your mental health, but it can also help you with your physical health as well. The role of caregiver can drain your body just as much as your mind, so take some self-care steps to preserve your strength and wellness. Use those grocery delivery services to stock your kitchen with healthy, whole foods that will nourish your body. When preparing meals during the week is tough, turn to meal prep to make adhering to a balanced diet less of a struggle. A consistent exercise routine can also help improve your energy and mood, so take some time to stay active throughout the week. Being active outside can be very helpful in relieving stress, so add a morning jog or some weekend hikes to your schedule.
Don’t let the stress of your new role overwhelm you. Self-care is helpful in keeping you positive, energized and ready to tackle these important responsibilities. Make some time to care for yourself, so you can provide better care for your loved one.