Wellness Tips for Caregivers

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Wellness Tips for Caregivers

The past year has been trying for most of us, regardless of our specific situation. However, if you are a caregiver for a child, a sick family member, or an elderly loved one, the last twelve months may have taken an especially hard toll on you, perhaps mentally and physically.
Caregivers play a special role in our society, often sacrificing their own wellbeing to care for someone else who needs support. Although this sacrifice is common, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. No matter what your particular role is, it’s important to take care of yourself.

Schedule Time for Yourself
Chances are, you’re constantly juggling someone else’s schedule and planning your own life around their needs. While rearranging your schedule occasionally is fine, when you consistently lack free time for yourself is when you run into problems. Not having time to replenish your energy levels or simply time to sit and relax can lead to quick burnout.
Try to schedule an hour or two each week for yourself. If you have a partner, ask them to watch the kids or stay with your parent for a while. Alternatively, you can ask a friend or family member to help for an afternoon. There are even services like Care.com that help you hire professional, vetted caregivers when you need extra support.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you’re a caregiver, there’s a good chance you’re also a nurturer. For nurturers, it can be hard to step away and let someone else take over for a while, especially when you’re used to the one who is known for taking care of others. If it’s hard for you to ask for help, consider the idea that you’re setting an example for others. By showing you are strong enough to ask for help, you are helping others feel more comfortable doing so in the future.
Ask your boss to make an adjustment to your schedule, or ask a sibling to help out with your elderly parents for a weekend. Reach out to your responsible teenage niece or nephew and see if they can watch your kids for a few hours one evening while you and your partner go out for a date night. Asking for help strengthens your network of support.

Do a Little Research
Consider what tasks are most stressful for you right now. Is it battling the busy grocery stores in the middle of the day on your lunch break? Is it trying to take care of yardwork so your HOA doesn’t send you another notice about your uncut grass? There may be some easier ways to handle these issues. Research grocery stores that do curbside pickup so you can avoid the long grocery lines. Hire a college student looking to make extra money to cut your grass once in a while.
It’s easy to get stuck in a pattern of thinking. Actively seeking alternate solutions to your problems can open up avenues you haven’t thought about and save you time and stress in the long run.

No matter what your caregiving role is, you need a break every now and then. Remember, if your end goal is to help someone else, keep in mind that you won’t be able to do that if your own body and mind aren’t up to the task.

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