How Caregivers Can Better Care for Themselves
Guest Blog: This blog was written ad submitted by Courtney Rosenfeld, the creator of gigspark. Rosenfeld is a writer who covers topics that explore Lifestyle, mental health, and the gig economy, and other related topics.
If you find yourself newly in charge of caring for an aging friend or relative, you are likely to feel overwhelmed at first. Fortunately, it is possible to care for yourself as well as your loved one. People new to advocacy can easily find themselves overwhelmed with the sheer amount of duties and responsibilities required.
Manage Your Time
Data shows that, in addition to time spent providing for their loved ones, caregivers often work an additional job for an average of 34.7 hours per week. This means that many caregivers are stretched thin and may not have time to do everything necessary. If you find yourself in this position, look for ways to save time. For example, you can hire a lawn care company to do your yard work. Read reviews online and ask friends and family for referrals. To save money, search for ‘ landscape company near me ’ online to find deals or credits.
Streamline your caregiving duties to save even more time. Organize medical information so that you don’t have to spend time before every appointment gathering up medication lists and other notes. If you find yourself on the phone too often requesting approval for a procedure or medication, enlist the help of other advocates on Greater National Advocates. Other ways to increase free time include using grocery delivery and laundry services and cooking large batches of food to freeze and serve later.
Manage Your Mental Health
When caring for an aging or ill loved one, it is important to maintain your own mental health as well. Practice stress reduction techniques, such as meditation and mindfulness. Make time every day to relax and do something that you enjoy. Seek professional help if you can’t manage your stress on your own.
In addition to activities you and your loved one enjoy together, find a hobby for yourself so that you have something you can do to take your mind off your caregiving responsibilities for a while. If necessary, ask another relative or friend to help out so that you have time for yourself.
Although it may seem difficult to maintain a social life on top of all of your other responsibilities, it is important to prioritize friendships. Keep in touch by phone or video chat. If possible, make time to see your buddies in person once a month or so. If you do not currently have any close companions, try using social media to reconnect with old friends. Join a club or download a friendship app to make new pals.
Manage Your Physical Health
Unfortunately, it is very easy to skimp on exercise when you are busy caring for someone else. You spend so much energy keeping them healthy, that your own health can slip your mind. Be mindful of your own activity as well as your client’s. Work short exercises into your daily routine, and focus on your own problem areas. High-intensity interval training helps you get the most out of whatever time you can devote to physical activity.
Proper nutrition also tends to get shoved aside when life gets hectic. Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time so that they are on hand. Nuts and frozen fruit are easy and nutritious. Meal delivery services also save time and can be customized according to dietary needs, taste preferences, and delivery frequency. Some services charge as little as $5 per meal.
If you are busy and stressed, you are likely to get less sleep than normal. Although you can’t change how many hours of sleep per night your body needs, you can make your nightly routine more efficient by avoiding electronics and other stimulants an hour before bed and keeping your room cool and dark to help you fall asleep more quickly.
Being a caregiver should not mean that you neglect yourself. With a little planning, you can make sure that both you and your loved one are well cared for.