Taking Care of the Caregiver
Taking Care of the Caregiver
“In case of a loss in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down from above…. Please be sure to secure your own mask before assisting others.” If you’ve flown on an airplane in the last few decades, you’ve heard this speech. It illustrates the truth that you have to take care of yourself in order to care effectively for others. Taking Care of the Caregiver
Are you caring for aging parents, young children, a relative who is ill, or some combination of the above? You know how challenging it can be to find the time to take care of yourself–body, mind and spirit.
And, if you don’t take care of yourself, you are setting yourself up for caregiver burnout. Symptoms include depression, anxiety, irritability, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, trouble concentrating, deteriorating health, and resentment toward those you’re caring for.
Here are five ways to help stay centered and at peace while you care for others:
Ask for help
Don’t be shy about telling family and friends how they can assist you. Delegate caregiving tasks such as helping with groceries and errands. Look into respite care— adult day care services or paid or volunteer in-home helpers may be available through local agencies. Develop a cooperative childcare arrangement with other caregivers and take turns getting away.
When dealing with a family member’s illness, you may have struggled to make sense of the situation and asked, “Why!” You’ll feel better if you focus on best ways to respond to the situation. Try to see a silver lining—how you are growing as a person, the opportunity to express love…
Care for Your Health
Nutritious foods including fruits and vegetables help keep your energy steady. Go easy on sweets and caffeine that give a quick pickup followed by a crash. Try for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. It boosts your energy, relieves stress, lifts your mood and helps you sleep better. Relaxation is important: A few minutes of yoga or meditation in a stressful day can help you stay centered. Remember your own medical exams and appointments!
Find a Support Group
Talking with others having similar experiences is a tried and true way to maintain emotional balance— and an opportunity to share knowledge and practical tips. You’re not alone! Find a group through your doctor or hospital, or through an organization dedicated to the relevant disease or situation. Online groups are also available.
Take a break!
For at least a half hour daily, do what you love, whether it’s reading poetry, working in the yard, or watching the game. Get out of the house; if you can’t get out, invite friends in. Share your feelings–just expressing what you’re going through brings a lot of relief. Find ways to pamper yourself. Light candles and take a bubble bath. Put on music and dance. Get a manicure.
A reflexology session is also an excellent way to nurture yourself. Reflexology sessions include techniques to calm the nervous system, help eliminate toxins and encourage the release of endorphins, natural “feel-good” hormones. From the moment a reflexologist’s hands start their work, relaxation begins. And it feels great!
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Laura Norman, M.S., LMT, world-renowned Holistic Reflexologist and author of the best-selling book, Feet First: A Guide to Foot Reflexology, offers private Reflexology and Life Wellness Coaching sessions in Delray Beach and Holistic Reflexology Training Programs in Boynton Beach.
About the Author
Jeff has been the CEO of Senior.com for 12 years. Senior.com has grown under Jeff’s leadership, in fact when the website was first launched, the member base grew form Zero to over 700,000 in less the 3 years. Current, has over 1,600,000 registered members.
Jeff received his MBA degree in Managerial Finance and Investor Relations from the University of Phoenix and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate Finance and Accounting from California State University, Fullerton.View All Articles