Tips for Caregivers During Family Caregivers Month
The month of November is celebrated as Family Caregivers Month. Every caregiver deserves recognition for their selflessness and compassion for others. Whether it’s caring for an elderly parent, ill spouse, or children/grandchildren, the same benefits and challenges often arise. Caregivers are at a high risk of burnout, depression, illness, and strained relationships.
To prevent negative emotions or, worse, burnout, it is beneficial to increase your self-awareness and self-care. Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion that usually arises when we ignore our own needs in order to attend to the needs of others. It is usually the result of prolonged stress, but burnout can be avoided. Below are some suggestions to make your caregiving experience the less stressful and more fulfilling.
Engage in Self-Care
Self-care is a necessary part of caregiving. In order to help others, we must first help ourselves. Some ways to incorporate self-care into your daily routine include:
- Getting fresh air by sitting outside or going for a walk.
- Stretching or exercising to decrease muscle tension.
- Increasing socialization by reaching out to friends, joining a group, or attending community social events.
- Taking a moment to laugh. There are many joys in life and it is important that we take time to focus on the positive in order to decrease stress
Monitor Your Own Health and Wellbeing
Taking care of yourself does not only include self-care. Managing one’s own health is an essential part of caregiving. Some ways to better manage your wellbeing include:
- Establishing a regular sleep schedule/night time routine.
- Exercising a few times a week. This could be anything from a 20 minute walk, going to the gym, attending an exercise class, swimming, etc.
- Eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water.
- Attending regular doctor’s visits in order to maintain your physical health and prevent sickness.
Asking for Help
It is important to know your limits and reach out to others when necessary. Depending on your caregiving situation, it may be helpful to receive in-home healthcare or a daycare for adults/children. Other community resources such as Veteran’s affairs, senior centers, or social services can assist you when you feel overwhelmed. Additionally, it is beneficial to receive support from others, such as friends, family, or a support group.
Acenda’s Counseling & Wellness Center in Glassboro, NJ offers a weekly Caregiver Therapeutic Group for those that are 60 years of age or older or caring for someone 60 years of age or older. In addition, all of Acenda’s Counseling & Wellness Centers offer individual counseling to help address the issues that you are facing. For more information, call 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632).