Combating Caregiver Burnout
This is so dang hard!
Everyone keeps telling me that I have to find time to take care of myself. What they do not understand is the time just isn’t there! When my mom has to go to the bathroom, I can’t tell her “Wait mom, I’m almost done with my work out for my mental health!”
This is a recent conversation with my friend that is caring for her mom. A conversation that seems to be going on in many homes these days.
No one plans to be a caregiver, let alone truly comprehends what life will look like when they take on the first few tasks. Maybe it was a sudden health emergency like dealing with a COVID-19 diagnosis and recovery; or maybe it’s a cognitive decline that has been developing over time.
However, it came about, you are right in the middle of it. As a caregiver for a loved one you, are suddenly responsible for the safety and livelihood of another adult and you need to be armed with information to develop a plan. That plan has to include options for care, a backup plan for your backup plan, and lists upon lists!
Sure, you can keep this up for a little while, but eventually your health will suffer. The signs may not be recognizable at first, but soon you will understand how consistently putting someone else first affects your emotional and physical wellbeing. You will need to find healthy ways to unload mentally and emotionally.
Ideas that can help you regain the edge & ability to keep going one more day.
Music. Whether rock or smooth jazz, turn on some music to give your mind something else to break the “To Do” cycle.
Dab some lavender or another favorite scent on a pressure point or diffuse it. This can relax the mood of the room. Let your other senses help put you at ease.
Reach out to a friend or join a support group to find a safe space to vent and get some tips and ideas from others that have dealt with the type of care you are giving.
Identify the needs.
Do you need help with rides to appointments? Companionship while you work? Help with hygiene, showers and dressing? Medication Management? There are trained volunteers or paid professionals that can help with this.
Accept how you feel.
Keeping the stress, guilt and anger inside can be detrimental. Talk to someone outside the situation who can listen and provide positive and constructive feedback. Online therapy is a great way to do this while still being available to your loved one or social distancing, www.talkspace.com
Change your Expectations
. What are your personal goals? How are you going to work towards accomplishing them when you’re putting yourself last? Make them reasonable and don’t give up on them. We often add to our stress levels by creating unrealistic goals. Be easy on yourself. Do what you can and be okay with that.
Let’s get physical.
Release some endorphins and let yourself feel happy. Walk, eat, meditate, just do something for you! Fifteen minutes can make a huge difference.
Be in the know.
Find out about your loved one’s condition so that you know best how to help them. What does the disease progression look like? Are there more effective medications? Is there an easier way to change someone who is confined to a bed? Helping them more efficiently in turn puts less stress on you.
Meditation and Relaxation.
Try Mindful breathing by matching your inhale with your exhale with focus on scanning your body. As little as 3 minutes will help.
Be Intentional. Remember to take time to sit and talk to your loved one. Spending your time going through the motions of caregiving and not connecting and talking is missing out on a great opportunity. Be intentional about sitting by their side, talking, holding their hand and loving on them.
Grieving It’s ok to be angry.
Relationship Shift What now? No longer parent and child or lover and partner but Caregiver.
What can I say? When someone is grieving & what NOT to say!
By The Summit at Sunland Springs Assisted Living & Memory Care
2415 S. Signal Butte Road, Mesa, AZ 85209
(480) 907-5588 Phone