Although caring for an aging loved one is highly rewarding, it can also be physically and emotionally draining. As an informal caregiver, you may be forced to seek support so you can step away and recharge for while once caregiver fatigue starts to set in.
Just because you need to take a caregiving break doesn’t make you a failure. Keeping negative emotions like guilt or frustration from bringing you down isn’t always easy. What follows are some proven ways to stay positive as a primary caregiver even when your mind is trying to convince you otherwise.
Informal Caregivers Face These Challenges
Each year, millions of Americans selflessly donate their time and talents to care for aging-in-place relatives and friends. And although it’s a labor of love, those caregiving volunteers face daily challenges like:
- Neglecting their own health
- Financial difficulties caused by out-of-pocket expenditures
- Strained personal relationships
- Stress and fatigue
- Anxiety and depression
- Substance abuse
- Scheduling conflicts (work, children’s activities, etc.)
As a result of all these stressors, many primary informal caregivers experience burnout– which then places the health and wellbeing of everyone involved at risk.
How to Stay Positive and Refreshed
Guilt, frustration, sense of failure, and depression are some of the negative emotions that fatigued caregivers struggle with. Once you decide to take a break, here’s how to keep toxic feelings from interfering with your recovery process:
Caregiver support group
Joining a caregiver support group is a great way to connect with like-minded individuals who can empathize with your struggles. As an excellent source of caregiving tips, support groups provide an open forum where you can openly express your thoughts with others who fully understand.
Another way to share your innermost feelings without being judged is by meeting with a licensed professional counselor. Not only will your counselor be objective and a good listener, but he/she will
provide valuable insight that helps restore your peace of mind.
Keep a journal
Another way to purge negative thoughts is by recording them in a daily journal. Once you start a caregiving journal, you can also use it to write down inspirational messages or positive experiences. When having a bad day, going back and reading those positive messages can do wonders for your self-confidence and frame of mind.
Regular exercise benefits your body and mind in so many ways, starting with the fact it’s a great stress reliever. Working out for 20 minutes 3 to 5X a week will also promote a better night’s sleep, strengthen your immune system, and give you a more positive mental outlook. Some of the best workouts for caregivers include walking, swimming, bicycling, or aerobics. Meditative forms of exercise like Yoga and Tai Chi help cleanse both the body and mind.
When caring for an aging loved one, your “me time” and other personal relationships often get put on the back burner. Reward yourself for a job well done by doing some activities you enjoy. Pamper yourself with a spa day, go on a weekend trip, learn a new hobby, or just spend an afternoon curled up on the couch with a good book. After all, you’ve earned it!
Sources of Caregiving Relief
Once you’ve made the decision to step back from your caregiving duties for a while, sources of relief may include:
- Other family members
- Friends, neighbors, or coworkers
- Community volunteers that work with the aging
- Adult daycare
- A professional respite caregiver from a licensed home care agency
Quality In-Home Respite Care for Seniors in Orange County
When it’s time to take a well-deserved caregiving break, contact Colonial Home Care Services. As a locally owned and family-operated provider, our compassionate professionals make it easy for families to secure quality respite care- even with little notice in an emergency. At Colonial Home Care Services, we take great pride in carefully selecting and thoroughly screening our caregivers to ensure all have the right skills, knowledge, experience, and personality.
As a family-trusted home care provider serving Orange County, Long Beach, Mission Viejo, and surrounding communities, Colonial Home Care Services has been providing peace of mind to those we serve for over 25 years. To learn more now about our award-winning home care services, or to schedule a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in our service area today, please visit us at www.colonialhomecareservices.com.