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0 7 Crucial Self-Care Practices for Overwhelmed Caregivers

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7 Crucial Self-Care Practices for Overwhelmed Caregivers

Providing care for another person is one of the most important responsibilities you can have. Caring for others can give you a sense of pride and accomplishment but sadly, as Today's Caregiver notes, the weight of the duties can deteriorate a caregiver's health. The stress and burden of caring for a sick or aging loved one can be emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting. This can lead to a caregiver feeling alone and unappreciated and the longer it goes unchecked the worse it can get. If you've recently become a caregiver, use these suggestions from Enjoying Aging for ways to refresh yourself and fulfill your obligations with joy.


Maintaining a Regular Exercise Routine

You can't give your best to your loved one when your health falters. Keep your energy levels high and your spirit rejuvenated by staying physically active. You may not be able to make room for a workout every day, but doing little things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help you stay in good shape. Lunch breaks are an excellent time to take a walk or a quick jog to get your blood flowing. Meditation is one of the best forms of stress relief and it can be performed almost anywhere. Put together a small bag with a squeeze ball, an elastic rope, small hand weights, etc., and keep it with you so you can exercise whenever you get a moment of free time.


Adapting the Home for Ease of Care

Keep the caregiving environment bright, open, and serene to preserve your emotional well-being. PureWow points out that a few mirrors can make rooms feel more spacious and reflect more light. Clearing untidy or cluttered areas makes finding things easier and lowers your stress level. Add a few houseplants to the home. Plants have a calming effect and help keep you in a nurturing mindset.



Prioritizing Quality Sleep

Practicing sound self-care starts with getting adequate sleep. Quality sleep ensures that your overall well-being is at an optimal level, which includes physical as well as mental health. If you have yet to do so, start a bedtime routine that includes relaxing activities like taking a warm bath, reading a book, and turning off the electronics. Also, set up your bedroom for optimal sleep with comfortable linens and other appealing options like artist-inspired all-cotton duvet covers. Look into soothing colors and calm patterns to set the stage for a good night's rest.

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Joining a Support Group

Commiserating with others who understand and recognize your struggles is an excellent way to get a load off your heart and mind. Online support groups offer the opportunity to share your feelings when exasperated. Imparting lessons you've learned with others helps you reflect on the good you've accomplished and gain a sense of pride in your valuable work as a caregiver. Look into therapy the moment you feel you're reaching a breaking point and other practical self-care tips aren't working.

They say charity begins at home; and what better place to look for comfort and support than your family and friends? Often, all that is needed in the short term is an attentive listener or someone who has been through what you are experiencing. If you are not getting what you need at home most churches or local communities offer resources for help and you can usually find others there that are going through similar situations. In more extreme cases you may need to seek professional help but that is nothing to be ashamed of so don't convince yourself it will be alright when it really won't. They are called professionals for a reason and you should take advantage of the help they provide.


Simplifying Your Life

You have the same 168 hours a week as everyone else, so avoid trying to cram activities into every minute. Acknowledge that you won't have the time and circumstances to do what others in your peer group can. If you're like a lot of people you hate to say no to someone who cared enough to extend an invitation for dinner or a party. Learn to respectfully turn down invitations and requests that will only overwhelm you in the end. Where possible, automate tasks like bill payments and hire someone to clean the house or do the lawn. Self-Discipline and focus are the keys to success and if you are going to make major changes in your life so you can achieve your goals of simplification start by learning those two things first.


Taking Breathers

Find 10 to 15 minutes every couple of hours or so to take a break from your duties and refresh. A quick walk around the block or breathing exercises can recenter you and calm any feelings of anxiety. Don't leave breaks to chance. Schedule a bit of downtime and let it be known, respectfully, that you're briefly unavailable.


Finding Professional Help

The moment may come when your loved one needs more help than you can offer, such as round-the-clock care. Humbly realize the benefits of an assisted living community. An on-call nursing staff means you never have to worry about your relative being without assistance during an emergency.

You can prosper mentally, emotionally, and physically while assisting a loved one. Carve out time to employ these ideas to preserve balance in your life.


A special thank you to Sharon Wagner at seniorfriendly.info for contributing this article.


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