Over time, even the most dedicated family caregivers start to experience negative emotions like frustration, guilt, and even resentment. As the months go by, the average informal caregiver battles physical and mental exhaustion while juggling caregiving duties with a household and career. Once caregiver stress sets in, the health and wellbeing of both the caregiver and care recipient may be placed at risk. If you currently find yourself in this position, these self-care hacks are intended to help you thrive even when you are starting to feel overwhelmed as a caregiver.
How Caregiving Affects Caregivers
Although caring for an aging loved one is a labor of love, caregivers face these challenges:
- Neglecting their own health
- Financial difficulties due to out-of-pocket expenditures
- Strained personal relationships
- Stress and fatigue
- Substance abuse
- Scheduling conflicts (work, children’s activities, etc.)
Along with physical and mental fatigue, a caregiver might also deal with negative emotions like guilt, frustration, anxiety, hopelessness, and depression. As daily stressors add up, it can push even the most seasoned family caregiver to the breaking point.
Warning Signs of Caregiver Stress
In addition to mental health concerns like substance abuse, negative emotions, and social withdrawal, these are some of the physical warning signs of caregiver stress:
- A weakened immune system
- Rapid weight gain or loss
- Digestive problems
- Frequent headaches
Once caregiver stress sets in, it has the potential to transition into caregiver fatigue and even full-blown burnout.
Self-Care Tips for a Tired Caregiver
As someone who’s got a full plate every day, these are some healthy ways to ward off caregiver fatigue:
Join a support group
Joining a caregiver support group is a simple way to connect with like-minded individuals who understand what you’re going through. As a reliable source of caregiving tips, support groups provide a forum where you can openly express your feelings and experiences without being judged.
Get professional counseling
Another way to share your innermost thoughts without being criticized is by speaking with a licensed therapist. Not only will your counselor be objective and a good listener, but he or she can also provide you with valuable insight that helps restore your peace of mind and sense of self-worth.
Start a caregiving journal
You can also confront negative feelings by recording them in a caregiving journal. Once you start a journal, use it as an opportunity to write down inspirational messages or positive thoughts too- like finally being able to convince your father to stop driving. Going back and reading those uplifting messages can do wonders for your self-confidence and mental outlook whenever you are having a bad day.
Regular exercise benefits you in so many ways, starting with the fact it’s a great stress reliever. Working out for at least 20 minutes several times a week will also promote a better night’s sleep, strengthen your immune system, and give you a more positive mental outlook. Some of the best cardio workouts for caregivers include walking, swimming, bicycling, or aerobics. Meditative forms of exercise like Yoga and Tai Chi are great for cleansing both body and mind.
When caring for others, “me” time and personal relationships often get neglected. Reward yourself for a job well done by doing activities you enjoy. Pamper yourself with a spa day, take a vacation with friends, or learn a new hobby. You can even spend a quiet afternoon curled up on the couch with a good book. After all, you deserve it!
Take a break
When it’s time to take a well-deserved break, or “respite,” you can seek caregiver relief through:
- Trustworthy family members
- Friends, neighbors, or coworkers
- Adult daycare
- A professional respite caregiver from a licensed home care agency
Personalized In-Home Respite Care for Seniors & Families Throughout the Pacific Northwest
At Family Resource Home Care, we proudly serve many communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Our local caregiver teams share a commitment to enhancing their neighbors’ quality of life while supporting clients and families with personalized in-home care solutions. Our respite care services can help a family caregiver to get a much-needed break for self-care. In addition to respite care, our senior services include personal care, meal preparation, errands and transportation, light housekeeping, companion care, live-in care, and dementia and Alzheimer’s care.
Our highly trained staff provide delegation and close supervision of caregivers while in the home for your peace of mind. At Family Resource Home Care, we are here for you! To learn more about our affordable home care services now, or request a FREE consultation for a senior in our service area today, please visit Family Resource Home Care at: www.familyresourcehomecare.com.
See our Caregiver Stories to shed some light on others’ journeys with caregiving.