If you are a caregiver or planning to be a caregiver in the near future, you should know that one of the most critical things you can do is make a conscious effort to stay productive. Continually work on yourself and don’t fall into a slump or routine that may cause you to burn out. Although the act of caring for one or several individuals each day can be very rewarding, it also can become exhausting. It can be difficult to understand the toll of juggling your personal life as well as the lives of others who need you. Here are some great tips for all caregivers that could help exponentially not only in improving your state of mind and well-being, but make your life simpler as well.
Keeping your life organized is an essential part of being a caregiver. Not only do you have to manage your own life, but the life of one or more other individuals as well. Take time each week to pay your bills, balance your checkbook and prepare for the week ahead.
You may find it difficult to do certain things, such as getting groceries, picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy or going to the bank if you are a full-time caregiver, but always know there are ways to get what you need simply and easily. Order groceries and items you need from Amazon, which will deliver right to your door. You can order prescriptions online that will also be sent directly to your address, and now you can even manage your finances on-the-go. Don’t let yourself fall into a rut or make excuses that there isn’t enough time in the day. Stay focused and keep your mind busy.
Make Time for Physical Activity
If your patient(s) are immobile or spend very little time walking/moving in general, you may receive very little exercise throughout the day. It’s important that if this is the case, you make the effort after work to stay active and energized. It takes a lot of work and attention throughout the day to adequately care for a patient. If you find yourself becoming easily fatigued, anxious or developing depression-like symptoms, it could be due to lack of exercise. Working out at the gym or running outside can keep you from feeling isolated as well when you spend most of your day inside with your patient(s).
Eat a Well-Rounded Diet
Just as those you care for probably have a regimented, healthy meal plan that you follow for them, you should likewise have a meal plan to give you a well-rounded diet. Many find that meal-prepping at the beginning of each week gives them one less thing to worry about throughout the week. Making meals can be a strain, so doing it beforehand in equal portions for each day of the week helps make lunch and dinner easy. Eat multiple servings of fruits and vegetables, and avoid caffeine as much as possible to prevent yourself from crashing in the middle of the day.
Take Care of Your Own Well-Being
As much as you worry about your patient(s) health and welfare, you should be giving just as much if not more attention to your own. If you allow yourself to become completely immersed in your caregiver responsibilities, you may neglect your own obligations, whether that be as a parent, guardian or simply your personal commitments. Don’t isolate yourself — instead, make it a priority to spend time in social situations and don’t shy away from an active lifestyle.
You should also continue to plan for the future, and if you feel that you are becoming overwhelmed as a caregiver, this may not be the profession for you. At the end of the day, always keep in mind that this is simply a job, and you shouldn’t take the weight of your role as a caregiver home with you at night. If you are a full-time, in-house caregiver, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone needs help at some point, so be comfortable reaching out to others for moral support.