Written by Clara Hinton
Caregivers are special people. In fact, many people refer to caregivers as “angels on earth” who make it possible to get through the most difficult periods of grief anyone will ever face.
It is necessary for those in such a position as “caregiver” to receive daily replenishment in order to stay strong and healthy emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
By following the suggestions below, a caregiver can be replenished and can avoid facing “caregiver burnout.”
For the caregiver:
Take mini grief breaks – allot a specific time every day to get away from it all
Allow yourself time to feel the normal flow of living. Dealing with the ill—physical or mental illness—can be extremely draining. You, the caregiver, need some time each day to simply feel “normal”.
Give yourself permission to laugh. Laughter releases the natural chemicals known as endorphins—a pain reliever/mood elevator equivalent to antidepressants/pain medication. A good laugh every day is necessary for your physical and mental well-being.
Rest. Working around the clock will deplete you physically and emotionally. It is necessary for you to get enough rest every day.
Walk. The best overall exercise is still something basic to us all—walking. A brisk 30-minute walk three times a day will work wonders for you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Sometimes we feel driven by guilt or a desire to be the sole caregiver. You will wear yourself down and out if you attempt to do it all alone.
Use prayer. There is a healing peace found in prayer. Doctors are conducting studies around the world, and are concluding that prayer helps a person to heal quicker, and gives peace to a worried mind.
Keep yourself looking neat and clean. It is very easy for the caregiver to want to help too much, to the point of not taking care of personal needs. It is not selfish to get a new dress, a new tie, or to have your hair styled!
Be a good listener, but learn how to know when to stop. Do not become so involved that you focus all of your attention on the patient, and forget that others enjoy being with you, too.
Know the symptoms of depression, and seek help if you feel you are slipping into depression. There is help available, and there is no need for you to suffer feeling hopeless or alone.