It can be difficult to know when to clock out of your caregiving job. In a way, it can feel like parenting. You always have your loved one on your mind, even when you’re not with them. They may be at home or participating in Bingo night at the senior center, and there you are, scheduling doctor’s appointments, planning healthy meals and organizing their medication. So where do you draw the line?
Each caregiving situation is unique, so it’s difficult to say when it’s time to take a break. Only you know how much you can handle and how much help you have. What’s important to realize is that every caregiver needs a break sometimes.
Let’s discuss some of the reasons why breaks are beneficial for your mental and physical well-being.
Recharge Your Mind, Body and Spirit
Caregiving is physically and mentally demanding. You need to step away from these demands and give yourself time to recharge. If you don’t, you’re going to pile stress on top of stress, and you can crumble. Find an outlet that allows you to de-stress such as yoga, feng shui or meditation. Not only will these activities restore your spirit, but also they will allow you to return to caregiving fully charged.
Strike a Balance
Caregiving is not your entire life. If it feels like it is, then you’re doing too much. As much as you love your parent, you can’t center your life around them 24/7. You need to take time for yourself, your friends and other family members. Taking breaks teaches you how to balance things in your life more efficiently. It also reminds you of who you are as a person. You don’t want to lose yourself in caregiving.
Learn to Trust Others
Many caregivers find it hard to trust others. These feelings are understandable. This is your parent, and who better to take care of them than you. You may also feel guilty about leaving them with someone else. You’ve taken the time to learn what they like and dislike, so why bring someone new in?
It’s very important as a caregiver that you learn to trust others. You need to allow people into your caregiving life, and that starts by taking breaks. A senior care center, a family member, a neighbor, a friend, etc. can take just one hour from you so that you can recharge. As you start to see that your loved one will be fine with others in your absence, you will learn to let go a little more.
You have an important job at stake. Make sure that you take care of yourself so that you can be the best caregiver you can be.