Finding Balance as a Caregiver
Being a caregiver is a job that is fueled by the heart. It is a job done with compassion and concern for someone you love. However, the job can quickly become daunting. Most caregivers put aside their own needs to take care of a loved one, and that can easily lead to feeling stressed, fatigued and without time for other family members and friends. If you find yourself overwhelmed, you won’t be any good to yourself or to your loved one. It might seem impossible, but it’s important to find a balance between your own wellness and the demands as a caregiver. Achieving such a balance means taking deliberate measures to self-care and plan. Here are a few ways you can make the journey an easier one.
Don’t Abandon Your Hobby: Don’t feel guilty, but give yourself permission to continue getting enjoyment from your interests or hobbies. Whether that’s going to the gym or crocheting, try to schedule 30 minutes to participate in what you love to do.
Ask for Help: Being a caregiver does not mean you have to be present at every doctor appointment or fulfill every task. Ask family members, neighbors or friends to fill in, pick something up at the grocery store or even prepare a meal.
Keep Dr. Appointments: You would never allow your loved one to miss an appointment, so make sure you are keeping your own. When visiting the doctor, communicate the many responsibilities you are handling and note any symptoms of insomnia, burnout or even weight fluctuation.
Explore Office Options: If you work, let your employer and HR department know about your situation, and find out if there are any options to make the challenges easier. That could mean changing to flexible work hours, telecommuting one or more days a week or finding out if your company offers time off for caregiving.
Find Support: Whether it’s a friend or relative, it helps to talk about the stress of caring for a loved one, especially with a terminal illness. Pathways offers a Caregiver Community Group that helps you connect with others in similar situations. The group meets the second Tuesday of the month from 1-2:30 p.m. For more information or to register, please call (970) 663-3500.