How to Take Care of Yourself When You’re Caring for a Loved One

 

As a caregiver, you’re no stranger to physical and emotional exhaustion. But if you’re like many other caregivers, you may have come to accept that living in a relentlessly drained state is just part of your role. But what if it wasn’t? What if there were realistic ways to foster your own health and well-being and recharge each day?

 

Fortunately, there are! And practicing self-care not only helps you, but it will also allow you to provide your loved one with better care. Consider these practical self-care tips from Senior Care Central to help you start your new life:

Delegate Household Tasks

When you are a caregiver, your home should be a peaceful retreat to which you can go after a long day. That applies whether you live with your loved one or not. The problem is, if you are busy, trying to fit in all of your household tasks to keep your home well-maintained can stress you out. Rather than let that happen, think about services that you can hire out to others.

Socialize on the Regular

Caregiving can be extremely isolating. And you might feel like you don’t have time to spend with other important people in your life. However, as a social being, it is critical to interact and maintain relationships with close friends and relatives. Try to carve out time in your schedule for others, and it will improve your overall quality of life.

One option is planning fun outings either for just you, or for you and your loved one. These could include a trip to the park or a museum, or perhaps a baseball game where you can sit and relax in the fresh air. For instance, you can browse ticket prices for the Dodgers well in advance, and you don’t have to worry about hidden fees getting between you and that stadium hot dog.

Focus Your Nutrition

This is probably no surprise to you, but it’s worth repeating, your diet matters a great deal. Try eating clean foods for a month and see if you don’t notice big changes in how you feel. You can start simply by basing your diet around lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Exercise Every Day 

One of the most effective ways to reduce stress in your life is to work out on a regular basis. There are countless physical activities that can help you break a sweat and get those endorphins flowing! Don’t be afraid to try everything from running to cycling, from weightlifting to yoga. And try to exercise outdoors whenever possible to get the added benefits of sunshine.

Do Breathing Exercises

There are many different types of breathing exercises that can benefit your mental health. But one of the easiest ones to start with is breath awareness.

Sit in a comfortable position on a cushion or chair, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. You will probably have distracting thoughts, but keep focusing on your breath and they will pass. Then, take a slow breath through your nose for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds. Do this repeatedly for ten minutes, and you will notice a deep relaxation come over your mind, body, and soul.

Sleep and Relax

When you’re stressed out, it can be really difficult to sleep. But there is no way you can be an effective caregiver and maintain your quality of life long-term if you live in a sleep-deprived state.

Be conscious of the caffeine you consume and the food you eat after lunch and find relaxing activities you can do before bed that will help you unwind. Pick up a print book, take a long bath, or do some light yoga stretches. And make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool.

If you want to be the best caregiver you can be without sacrificing your mental health in the process, it’s essential to practice self-care. The ideas above can get you off to a great start, but keep looking for other ways you can foster your health and wellness as you carry out one of the hardest jobs in the world. In no time, you’ll find yourself feeling better, becoming more patient, and getting more out of your everyday life!

 

By |2022-02-16T15:22:41-05:00February 20th, 2022|News Posts|Comments Off on How to Take Care of Yourself When You’re Caring for a Loved One

Tips for Talking About Mental Health With a Loved One

According to the latest statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health Disorders, 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. face a diagnosable mental health condition. Sadly, many refrain from seeking help. When it comes to having a discussion about mental health with a loved one, it can be difficult to find a place to start. For the listener, it’s often difficult to find the right words to say or determine the best way to offer support. For the individual seeking help, it can be hard to describe just how they are feeling or even find the best course of action to do so. That is why we have compiled some advice to help you begin a conversation about mental health with your loved one.

Actively Listen

It’s a meaningful step for a loved one to open up about their mental health, so having an open ear to actively listen is key to understanding how you can best offer support. Being engaged in the conversation can be made easier by limiting distractions. Leave electronic devices turned off and put away when possible, and avoid bustling spaces like eateries or parks. Find somewhere private and comfortable. This will put you both at ease and also allow you to focus on what your loved one is expressing.

Don’t Judge

It’s also important to listen without judgment or comparison. It’s okay to share experiences that offer insight into coping mechanisms or that build trust and relatability, but try to refrain from making it a competition of who has it worse. This may make the individual seeking help feel as if their experience is not valid. Try your best as the listener to set opinions or biases aside to allow your loved one to express themselves without fear of disappointing you or feeling judged or embarrassed. Instead, listen with an open mind to learn and offer insight based on their specific mental health experience.

Do Your Research

When a loved one comes forward to discuss their mental health, it may be a challenge to really understand just what they are going through on a day-to-day basis. This is where ample research can help you as the listener. Find relevant online resources, like this example from WebMD, that give a digestible overview of specific mental health disorders that your loved one may be struggling with. Bring this research to the conversation and make note of their unique mental health experience and how it applies to what you have learned. This can allow you to be a better resource for next steps and set plans of action to help them cope with their mental health.

Be a Resource

Once you’ve determined the next steps based on the discussions you have had with your loved one about their mental health, set those steps in motion. Review everyday habits they can instill in their routine to feel a better sense of control over their mental health. Be present enough as well to know when to seek help that you, as the listener, can not provide yourself. This may include suggesting the need for professional help. Online psychiatry resources make it easier than ever to commit to routine help from professionals, all while staying in the comfort of your own space. As the listener, this can be a difficult topic to broach, but don’t be afraid to push your loved one to seek professional help if needed and reassure them that you will be with them every step of the way.

By |2021-11-02T10:49:35-05:00November 1st, 2021|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Tips for Talking About Mental Health With a Loved One