Being the caregiver for a sick or elderly loved one is no easy task. You will often find yourself in stressful situations as you attend to the needs of your loved ones. Add to that having to deal with other responsibilities, and you might soon find yourself sick as well. Because of that, home health care provider Amavi is giving you a guide on mindfulness and effective self-care to help you out.
The Stresses Of Being A Family Caregiver
Before we get into self-care strategies, you need a good grasp of the challenge you might encounter when taking on the role. That will help you better understand how they impact you in the long run.
Physical And Mental Stress
This is the first challenge that you will face. Being a family caregiver is often a physically taxing job. You will be moving a lot as you help patients get their needs. That is more so when caring for bedridden or severely incapacitated loved ones. You will be their legs and arms as they go around their daily routine.
That physical exertion will also significantly affect your mental state. Being constantly tired from all that exertion can make it harder to focus on other tasks. That can also make you more prone to emotional outbursts as you try to cope with the strain.
Lack Of Privacy
Another major hurdle that family caregivers often have to deal with is the lack of privacy. After all, they will often have to be with their ward 24/7. That lack of alone time can often feel very restricting.
On the other hand, you often have to deal with a sense of isolation. You will feel as if you are left behind as the world goes on. That can result in resentment towards your loved one, as you might feel they have taken away your freedom.
Conflict Between Family Members
Caring for a sick loved one can sometimes lead to friction within the family. That is often due to feelings of unequal opportunity, especially if caregiving is supposed to be a shared responsibility. Sometimes, you might feel like others are not doing their part.
How Mindfulness Can Help Family Caregivers Relieve Stress
Luckily, there are ways that you can use to help relieve the stress of being a family caregiver. One of these is the art of mindfulness. It is essentially the practice of being in the moment, focusing on your present situation and take your mind off other concerns. That helps you return with a better focus and lighter disposition.
There are many ways that you can exercise mindfulness. However, the following exercises are specifically to help caregivers like you relieve stress.
The STOP Technique
You can do this simple procedure anywhere, such as when taking a break from your caregiving duties. It consists of four steps.
- S-Stop what you are doing.
- T-Take a deep breath.
- O-Observe your thoughts, feelings, and physical state
- P-Proceed with something that will help address the cause of your stress.
These four steps let you get a brief moment to clear your thoughts. From there, you can better think of a way to cope with stress.
I Wish You Peace
In this exercise, you focus on administering self-compassion and sharing it with everyone around you. You can even practice this together with your ward so that they might also feel the calmness.
To start, sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and recite the line “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be free from harm.” Now, think of your loved one and recite the same line. After that, picture someone that you have neutral feelings about. Repeat the same line with them in mind. For the fourth person, think of someone you are not fond of. Lastly, think of everyone in the world while reciting the line.
This is another simple exercise that you can do with your ward. When doing this, you better appreciate all the small things around you. That can help both of you heal and have a better outlook on your relationship.
You will need a notebook for this one. At the start of the day, take turns writing down the things you are grateful for. It could be anything from a simple joke to a surprise event that came your way. During difficult times, you can look back and read the notebook to feel better.
Doing Self Care
Beyond the above mindfulness exercises, you also need to practice greater self-care. The idea is that you should stay healthy to better care for others. Your healthier disposition will also influence your loved one more positively.
Be Clear On How To Take Care Of Yourself
The work begins by creating the right schedule for you. List all the activities you want to do to ensure a healthy lifestyle. You can then compare it to your caregiving schedule and see how you can reconcile them. For instance, you can use your free time when your ward is resting to do exercises.
Additionally, you want to have clear boundaries. For instance, you need to be clear about your alone time. You need to relay this to your loved one so that they understand why it matters to you. That might take some time but it will help both of you immensely.
Do Something You Love
While caregiving is often a 24/7 task, it should not prevent you from doing anything else. So make sure that you set aside time for such activities. Hobbies are a particular set that will surely make you happy. Sharing these activities with your ward is also a great way to help them see your world and be more respectful of it.
It is also vital that you take some time off. This isn’t just a few hours’ break. Go on a vacation for a few days to recharge and reconnect with the outside world. That will help you return with a better perspective toward your ward.
Get The Help Of The Best Home Health Care
Ultimately, while you are your loved one’s main caregiver, you shouldn’t carry that burden alone. Asking for help will do a lot for your self-care. And we at Amavi are ready to become that help for you.
When you sign up your loved one for our home health care service, you are sure they are getting the best treatment. Our caregivers are very professional and have the4 necessary expertise to care for different patients. We also have various facilities that would suit them.
You can either sign up for a full health care service or respite care. The latter is especially useful if you just need some time off for yourself. Our staff will come in the morning before you leave so you can provide them with additional instructions. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and get the best home health care while you care for yourself.