Being a family caregiver can be draining physically, mentally, and emotionally. Being responsible for caring for a loved one, in addition to all of the other responsibilities you have (job, spouse, kids, friends, etc.), can leave you little time for taking care of yourself, which is imperative not only for your well-being but also that of your care recipient. At HomeChoice Home Care Solutions, we’ve met and assisted hundreds of family caregivers over the past 15+ years. We understand how important mindfulness and self-care are for these special people, and we’d love to share these five self-care tips for caregivers to help be your best for yourself and your family.
Tip #1: Take regular breaks
Employees who work for public and private companies get mandatory breaks during their shifts, as do volunteers at most organizations. So should you.
One of the ways you can fit regular breaks into your schedule is through respite care. With respite care, a professional caregiver will care for your loved one while you rest and recharge, whether for a few hours a day or a day or two per week.
Tip #2: Ask for help
Everyone needs help from time to time – including family caregivers. Don’t go it alone. Ask family members and friends to help you care for your loved one. Ask them to help with some of the duties that you perform daily or weekly, like grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry, driving your loved one to medical appointments, and more.
Tip #3: Eat a balanced diet and exercise
Eating right and getting exercise are two of the biggest challenges for family caregivers. Unfortunately, these are often the first two things to go when caregiving responsibilities are added to an already packed schedule.
Make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of exercise every week. It can be as simple as taking a short walk daily or at least three times a week, making sure you’re eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and staying properly hydrated.
Tip #4: Listen to guided relaxation recordings or relaxing music
While taking care of yourself physically is essential, you also need to give adequate attention to your mental, spiritual, and emotional needs.
This can be done in short bursts if you’re pressed for time. Take a few minutes several times per day to sit quietly with your eyes closed and use one of the many guided meditation apps available, or put on some calming and soothing music.
Tip #5: Stay socially connected
Becoming isolated can be an easy trap for a caregiver to fall into. As you become immersed in meeting the needs of your loved one, which can increase as time goes by, you can easily find yourself spending less and less time socializing with friends.
One of the best ways to stay connected with friends and loved ones is to put social time on your calendar. Make it a point to regularly schedule a coffee date or lunch with a friend. If that’s not possible for you, at least schedule a phone call or video chat once a week with a friend.
HomeChoice Home Care Solutions is here to help you take care of yourself. We’re available to assist you and your loved one anywhere from a few hours a week up to 24-hour care.
Contact us today and let us know how we can help. Assisting family caregivers is vital to our mission of ensuring seniors age comfortably and safely where they most want to be – at home.