Caring for a loved one can feel very rewarding and give you a certain purpose in your daily life but many caregivers put themselves second, making the needs of their loved ones the most important things they focus on. However, there’s a balance to everything in life, and if you lose sight of that, you may experience signs of stress. Balancing your caregiving responsibilities can help you prevent stress, burnout and depression and make caregiving the rewarding experience it should be.
How to Find Balance When Caregiving
Look into respite care.
Taking care of someone 24 hours a day is a demanding job. Ask others to help you even if it’s just for an hour or two. If you don’t have friends or family who could help, check with a local volunteer service. You could also seek support from an adult day center or a nursing home to provide 24-hour care and give you a break for the day.
Don’t ignore the signs of caregiver stress.
Caregiver stress builds up gradually over time and can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability and difficulty sleeping. You may have less energy, get sick more often and develop resentful feelings. If you develop these symptoms, it’s important to take some time and get away, even if it’s just for an afternoon out with friends.
Don’t turn down a helping hand.
If someone offers to help, accept the offer and go do something you enjoy, whether it’s going out for a meal with friends or heading to the movies, it’s important to take breaks from the responsibilities of being a caregiver. By allowing others to help, you will get the breaks you need in order to keep stress in check.
Make time for yourself.
Whether it’s a 30-minute walk or an hour watching television, make time to do things you enjoy. It’s easy to lose yourself when caring for a loved one, so make sure to spend time doing things that make you feel good. When you’re happy, you’ll provide even more care for your loved one.
Additional Caregiver Tips
- Don’t ignore your other responsibilities. It will only lead to further difficulties later on.
- Take care of your health. Set regular doctor’s appointments, eat well and exercise regularly.
- Get educated. Learn more about your loved one’s condition so that you can communicate more effectively with the doctors and provide even greater care.
- Join a caregiver’s group. Meeting with other caregivers can give you a way to talk about your situation and get additional support.
- Be kind to your body. You may have to lift, push and pull while providing care. Learn more effective techniques for lifting and transferring your loved one, and set up regular massage appointments to soothe your own aches and pains.
For more information and helpful tips for caregiver support read here.