Let’s face it, life is busy. The responsibilities of caregiving can make things feel even more busy. If you are feeling burnt out from your duties as a caregiver, know that you are not alone. Caregiving can often be stressful and bring out feelings of guilt. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you may not be able to be caregiving to the best of your abilities. Taking time for yourself and your health is extremely important and should not be overlooked.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Caregivers have a variety of responsibilities, both in their caregiving roles and in their personal lives. Stress can take a toll on a caregiver’s physical and mental well being, so it’s important to keep stress levels as low as possible. One way to stress less is to get help, either from siblings or someone in the medical field, or even from one of the technological advances that are common today. Be sure to research resources in your area and know what help is available to you and your loved one. Technology such as automated medication dispensers can help with medication and time management and gives caregivers peace of mind in the process.
Hand in hand with stress is guilt. Guilt can manifest itself in many ways with caregiving. It’s important to take time and care of yourself. For example, if you are taking your loved one to the dentist, schedule an appointment for yourself as well if you need to. If you don’t take care of yourself and get burnt out or sick, you won’t be able to perform your caregiving duties to the best of your ability. If you are feeling stressed or guilty about needing help with your loved one, don’t be. There isn’t a manual on caregiving or a “right” or “wrong” way to care for a loved one. You are most likely choosing the best option for your situation.
Plan Ahead and Stay Organized, Especially During Holidays
Things will most likely get even more chaotic during holidays, so be sure to plan ahead. Work with your family and care team to prepare medication schedules, upcoming travel or medical needs. If you are traveling, be sure to research the mode of transportation you plan to take and what options are available for your loved one. If things in the family get tense, consider hiring a mediator. Remember that the holidays are about celebrating time with loved ones and they should be fun and relaxing.
It can be hard to juggle caregiving responsibilities, especially with a family and/or a career. There are a lot of changing responsibilities and medical routines. Having an overflowing plate of responsibilities can often lead to unproductivity, feeling overwhelmed and things generally not getting done. Staying organized is a way to combat unproductivity. Set a to do list for yourself each day with no more than 5 simple tasks. Set accomplishable goals and set reasonable expectations for yourself too.
For many people, caregiving is an aspect of everyday life. You are not alone and there are resources to help you. Don’t feel bad treating yourself to a massage or seeing a movie or a nice dinner. Caregiving is hard and caregiver burnout is common. Remember, to care for your loved one you need to start by caring for yourself.