This year, care for yourself too
The new year brings a fresh start. For many people, that means setting new goals. Now is the perfect time to put yourself back on the priority list so you can get the self-care you need and deserve.
It’s natural for caregivers to put themselves last, but this habit is harmful to health – the consequences of unchecked caregiver stress are serious. Statistics show that it can cause serious chronic illness and higher rates of early death. The ongoing stress can also negatively affect mood and relationships.
We share 3 self-care goals that protect your health and well-being along with suggestions for how to make them happen. This allows you to rest and recharge so you can sustain caregiving in the long run without damaging your own health.
3 New Year’s goals for caregivers
1. Get help so you’re not doing everything by yourself
- Put together a caregiving team of family, friends, and/or local resources
- Ask family or friends to help with your older adult – hands-on care, providing companionship, managing finances, doing research, running errands, doing chores, etc.
- Hire a geriatric care manager to help solve tough care challenges
- Get help or relax your standards for time-consuming chores like cleaning or cooking
2. Take time for yourself every day
- Take micro breaks throughout the day – it’s an effective way to reduce stress when you’re short on time
- Do a 2 minute meditation, breathing exercise, or calming exercise
- Improve circulation and reduce stress with an easy 4 minute workout
- Escape from reality with a great book, magazine, or audiobook
- Connect with friends – phone calls, video chats, coffee, or a meal
- Relax your body and get some fresh air with a casual stroll around the block
- Do something (anything!) just for you. Everyone needs regular me time.
3. Schedule regular breaks
- Get someone to sit with your older adult while you go out (or take a nap) – ask family, friends, volunteers from local service or religious organizations, or try the Senior Companions program
- Hire an in-home caregiver for a few hours each week
- Convince family members to take over on a regular basis
- Enroll your older adult in an adult day program
- Use local respite care programs
These goals and suggestions are meant to inspire creative thinking to help you find solutions that will give you time for self-care. As the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” The more your own needs are met, the better caregiver you can be to your older adult.
Recommended for you:
- 3 Ways to Let Go of Guilt and Get Help with Caregiving
- 6 Ways to Make It Easier for Caregivers to Take a Break
- Habits of Sane Caregivers in Dementialand
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: EQ Investors
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