How can caregiving become easier?
1. Prioritize Your Life.
We all have busy schedules and it’s hard to let go of the normal routine. Since it’s harder to let go of our loved ones, maybe you can find something easier to let go of, so you can have more time for your mind, body and soul. Is there an obligation you can say no to at work or in the community? Can you cut out a daily errand? Can you reduce your college class load for one semester? Does your child really need to do another extracurricular activity? Anything you can do to save time is valuable.
2. Light Exercise.
Walk. Just walk. You will be amazed how light or moderate exercise lets your brain decompress. Daily fitness increases your brain’s neurotransmitter, serotonin, which results in happier moods and gets you away from feeling blue. Don’t like walking? Find a light exercise you enjoy and take care of your physical health.
3. Give Yourself Quiet Time.
I know we want to be around people who can support us, but your body needs time to itself too. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes to relax each day – a hot bath? Take yourself out for ice cream? Write? Take Photos? Play Music? Just make sure it’s a chore-free zone. Turn the computer, phone and TV off! Breathe and embrace your moment.
4. Eat Healthier.
Yes, it’s convenient to grab fast food, but this actually can make matters worse. Find healthier meal options. Go eat at the grocery store cafe and/or include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Nutrient dense food improves your metabolism, boosts your immune system, and gives you the energy you need to maintain mood stability.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Day(s) Off From Work.
Our culture has been brought up to believe that we can only call in when we’re physically sick, but mental health is part of wellness. If your mental health is not kosher, then revitalize it. Don’t make it worse on yourself. You wouldn’t go into work with the flu, would you? Take a series of mini-vacations if you can get more than a day off. You need it!
6. Ask for Help.
You possibly can’t do it all, so don’t think you can. Assistance programs like the National Council on Aging provides a plethora of resources for caregivers like support groups, Meals on Wheels, financial help and sitter assistance. Whatever your need is, they will guide you in the right direction for your specific geographic location. Churches are also a wonderful place to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask.
7. Be Social.
This is the best time to go out with friends. They’ll remind you and help you refocus on what you love in life. Venting and talking help relieve stress, and you could also be learning something from your friends on this matter. Go have fun, be silly and laugh! And don’t forget to go on date night with your significant other!
Do this every day, even if you aren’t a caregiver. Uplift your mind from whatever elements have been taken away from you. Being thankful is such a small task that will improve your quality of life.
“Staying healthy while caring for loved ones can be challenging. The best thing I can do for myself is spend time with God. This helps me to stay focused and remember why I am here and who I’m really doing this for! The next best thing is to have fun while I’m out with my husband or with my girlfriends! Girlfriend time is another must thing to do!” – Dena Jordan, Melbourne, Florida.