Have You Reached Your Caregiver Breaking Point?
Think about it…you spend day in, day out caring for your loved one, anticipating their every need, from bathing to dressing, preparing meals, organizing schedules and appointments, and transportation, worrying about their health, ensuring their wellbeing. So, who’s taking care of you?
Sure, you enjoy being there for your loved one and wouldn’t want anyone else caring for them, but the truth is full-time caregiving is exhausting, stressful, and anxiety-producing.
How can you tell if you’ve reached your breaking point? You may notice yourself overly tired during the day, unable to sleep at night, and stressed about the next day. Your appetite is off and you may be skipping meals to keep up with the day’s tasks. You’re quick to anger and easily frustrated. Helping your loved one no longer brings you joy or excitement, and you begin to resent them for putting you in this situation.
Take a step back. Let’s not forget that you matter to and it’s time to give yourself a little TLC. To start, get some help from the sun. Yep, the sun. Get yourself outside and into the natural sunlight at any opportunity. When you first wake up in the morning, open up your curtains and let the light shine in. Have your morning cup of joe outside or near a window full of light. Spend some time outside, even if that means getting your loved one out there with you. Head to the park or take a simple walk around the neighborhood. This will allow you to get that Vitamin D in, which has been shown to have a positive effect on mood.
Rest. Sounds easy right? Here’s what we mean. Your day is over and you may have a couple of piles of laundry to fold, dishes in the sink, and a full dishwasher. Instead of pushing through these chores, muttering to yourself how annoyed you are, just stop. Forget about the chores, sit on the couch, and breathe for a second. RELAX. Turn on your favorite show, crack open a good book, just be still. You are allowed to not do anything. You are allowed to take time for yourself. Trust us, those chores aren’t going anywhere.
Eat the good stuff. Be kind to your body, it does so much for you! Maybe preparing breakfast is too tough for you right now or whipping up a meal for yourself at the end of the day is just too exhausting, but sprinkling a little bit of effort into mealtimes doesn’t have to be fancy. Throw a banana and yogurt in your bag before leaving the house, pack a bag of carrots for a mid-day snack or maybe some trail mix. Try using one of the many at-home meal prep services like Blue Apron or HelloFresh to make dinner quicker and yummier.
Your life may revolve around taking care of someone else, but remember that if you’re not healthy and happy, you can’t make others around you healthy or happy.
At MetroCare of Springfield, we provide our Caregivers with the training they need to provide quality care to those they love. Learn more about becoming a caregiver with our Adult Foster Care and Group Adult Foster Care programs.