The new year offers a fresh start, which empowers people to wipe the slate clean and make better choices. As a caregiver, you probably have a lot of things to improve when it comes to your health and well being. Many caregivers put their needs on the back burner when caring for a loved one, but this is never a good idea. To avoid suffering from caregiver burnout, you need to practice self care.
Let’s take a look at some of the best New Year’s resolutions that you should focus on in 2017.
Relieve some burden by asking for help.
You are one person, and you can only do so much. Assemble a caregiving team that can help you take better care of your loved one. On your team might be family, friends and neighbors. Even small things like dropping the kids off at school or scheduling your loved one’s doctor appointments can make a big difference.
Aside from friends and family, reach out to the appropriate professionals. A geriatric care manager can provide you with answers to some of the questions you might have, such as when it’s time to move your parent into assisted living.
Give yourself at least 20 minutes every day.
Ideally, you should be taking small breaks throughout the day to recharge, but if you’re not doing anything for yourself, start with 20 minutes. Surely you can squeeze in 20 minutes for yourself!
Download an app or find a workout plan that consists of just a few minutes each day, such as the Seven Minute Workout Training Challenge. It will feel good to exercise each day. Be sure to follow through with long stretches and deep breathing.
You don’t have to spend your “me time” working out – though you should try to do so at least once in awhile. You can also use the time to meet up with a friend for coffee, catch up on your favorite book or TV series or even just take a lazy stroll through the neighborhood. Use this time to recharge and reconnect.
Schedule time for breaks.
If you don’t have a lot of help nearby, you might need to reach out to a local respite care program or hire a caregiver to come to your parent’s home and help out each week. Don’t feel guilty! There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and your loved one will probably appreciate the fresh face and new friendship.
Respite care programs are extremely flexible, so you can plan ahead or request help when you need it. Knowing that you have someone on your team is empowering, especially when you realize that your loved one will receive exceptional care while you’re away.
And remember, professional caregivers are available to help! Caregivers can come to your love one’s home and provide in-home care. Recently, a home care client told us how much it meant to have a nurse’s aide come in twice a week to give her some additional help. Call us! You’ll be glad you did!