Caregiving can be a rewarding experience for those who choose to dedicate their time and effort to ensure their loved ones continue to enjoy a good standard of living. But in time, the stress and pressure of caregiving can also lead to burnout. Additionally, other responsibilities such as a job, relationships, and your own health can find themselves on the backburner. For caregivers struggling to find a balance between their personal and caregiving needs.
Manage Your Stressors
If stress has become a mainstay in your life, you may have lost track of actual stressors that make you feel this way. While you may be quick to conclude that the pressure of caregiving is the sole cause, there may be other factors exacerbating the situation, such as problems at work, lack of personal goals, financial difficulties, etc.
Once you realize the various factors which lead you to feel stressed, make a plan of how to address them. This can include:
● Applying for a new job or considering freelancing which can allow you greater control over your time and manage caregiving needs better.
● Creating a budget to reduce expenses to pay off debts or generate more funds for healthcare needs.
Additionally, communicate with your loved ones regarding your health and problems. Caregivers often refrain from sharing their concerns as they feel it may make their loved ones feel guilty. However, whether it’s a spouse, parent, or child, they’ll want the best for you as well and could even provide solutions and help improve the situation.
Exercise is one of the best ways to keep stress at bay and help avoid caregiver burnout. Exercise results in the release of various hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, etc. These are commonly known as feel-good hormones as they naturally reduce stress levels and promote happier moods.
A simple 20-minute workout a day will significantly reduce stress. This includes going for a jog, practicing body-weight exercises, cycling, etc. Additionally, consider including yoga or meditation as part of your daily routine, as reported by Insider, these activities promote mindfulness and gain clarity of thought. At times when you feel overwhelmed, practicing breathing exercises will help calm your nerves and prevent the situation from escalating into a panic attack.
Learn to Accept Help
While caregivers are first to offer assistance, they’re often reluctant to ask for help. Needing help doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of handling the situation alone or that you’ll burden others with your problems. In reality, by accepting help, you can learn better ways to manage responsibilities, handle stress, and develop a healthier lifestyle. For instance, during stressful situations, rather than sitting alone, pick up the phone and have a conversation with someone you trust, such as a friend, parent, or colleague.
Additionally, not all help needs to be reactive. If you need to travel for work in the near future, ask a family member to be with your loved one during the time you’re away. You can give them a rundown of the routine and the numbers they should call in case of emergencies. Moreover, on days when you’re short on time, request a friend to complete some errands for you, such as buying groceries, collecting documents, etc.
However, if you still feel your mental health deteriorating, don’t hesitate to seek professional health. There are numerous licensed therapists available online who you can meet at a time of your choosing from the comfort of your home. Compared to traditional in-person counseling, online therapy costs less and provides you with a wider variety of professionals to choose from.
As a caregiver, it is common to overlook your needs to dedicate all the time and effort towards helping loved ones. However, to provide them with the level of care needed, it’s important for you to be at your best, physically and mentally. To achieve this, you need to make time for yourself, learn to accept help, and not put the burden of caregiving solely on your shoulders.