People are living longer nowadays with help from advancements made in medicine and technology. Because of this, more and more people are adding the role of caregiver to their list of responsibilities. Regardless of how they got there, being a caregiver is very similar to parenting. You will be faced with many unexpected challenges, all of which can be very stressful. Luckily, some tools and resources are available to help alleviate stress.
Find a Support System
When it comes to caregiving, friends, and family are the first line of supporters to help maintain a sense of harmony and meaning in life. If you find yourself in a situation where you need specialized support, it may be necessary to reach outside of your normal social circle. By connecting with a group of caregivers who are dealing with the same pressures you are, it will make the transition into a full caregiver that much easier.
Every caregiver faces different challenges, but the impact that it has on one’s mental and physical health is common. When putting so much time and effort into caregiving, one may begin to detach from activities they once enjoyed. Connecting with other caregivers in person or virtually will make this transition easier and less stressful.
Tolls of Caregiving
Caregiving can create stressful responsibilities. These responsibilities can have negative physical and psychological effects. When added to one’s existing responsibilities such as work, the stress associated with caregiving can be amplified.
The structure of one’s family is important when it comes to caregiving. For example, siblings can be left feeling frustrated or angry when they are forced to talk about who will care for their parent(s). This is because the weight of this decision is usually distributed unevenly.
In other cases, stress can be present when caregivers are left to deal with the responsibility alone. Not only can this lead to physical and emotional stress but it can also lead to financial troubles because of any unplanned medical expenses.
Long periods of stress associated with caregiving can lead to one feeling burned out, and returning to normal pre-caregiver life is difficult. This is why it is important to create or maintain as many healthy and positive habits as possible.
To be a successful caregiver, remember these three things:
Eat Right – Just because fast food restaurants are quick and easy to get does not mean they should be your only food option. Making healthy meals doesn’t have to take a long time; in fact, some food options take little prep time. If possible, try to prep your meals in advance so that fast food is not as tempting. Eating healthy should not have to feel like a chore.
Exercise – This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym every week. Consider taking a quick 20-minute walk every day. This can help maintain a healthy weight, lower stress and the risk of depression. If you need to, keep a visual reminder for workout times in a calendar. The key is to be consistent.
Sleep – Getting seven to eight hours a night can be a hard goal to achieve. But if you are experiencing burnout, getting a little more sleep can be beneficial.
Caregiving is full of challenges, so it is important to recognize the available tools and resources that help make it easier to manage. If you have any questions about caregiving, we at Hollenbeck Palms would love to help. Call us today!