How to Stay Healthy as a Caregiver
“Caregiving is quite possibly the hardest job in the world™”, wise words recently spoken by Julie Cook Downing, creator of the “Caregivers’ Comfort” calendars.
The emotional and physical stress of caring for a person with dementia can negatively affect your own health.
Feeling tired and overwhelmed most of the time, gaining or losing weight and no longer enjoying activities that once brought you pleasure can all be signs that the stress is taking its toll.
Taking time for yourself to relax and recoup will not only make you feel better, but give you the necessary energy to continue your caregiver journey.
Strategies for Stress Reduction
- Ask for Help: Having someone pick up groceries for you or prepare dinner can be a huge stress relief for caregivers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. While your family or friends will probably not be able to give you a hand all the time, having someone to help even on occasion can give you the much needed time to relax.
- Get Social Support: Joining a support group and spending time with others that are going through similar circumstances can be a great source of encouragement. You are likely to make new friends, and might get valuable insights and suggestions.
- Truly “leave” when you’re away: When you get a day away or maybe even a short vacation, make an effort to fully remove yourself from your caregiver responsibilities and instead focus on the activities at hand. Whether it is the book you have been wanting to read, taking a long relaxing bath or the nap you’ve been craving, don’t let feelings of guilt weigh you down. Truly “letting go” will help you rejuvenate and feel happier and healthier. You deserve it.
- Do something you enjoy: Engage in joyful activities and truly relax. Need some ideas? Visit the Caregivers Blog “6 Ways to Relax, Renew, and Recharge” below for a little inspiration.