Those who care for persons who are ill are very susceptible to stress-related illnesses. Whether you are a professional caregiver or a family caregiver, you need to take some “me” time. We’ve all heard the analogy of the flight attendant who warns passengers to put on their oxygen masks before helping others during an emergency. If you feel guilty about having some “me” time, consider the oxygen mask warning–if you want to do your best in taking care of others, take care of you first.
Stress Relievers for Caregivers
If you want to be your best at caregiving, you need to engage in some caregiver care. Whether you work as a caregiver in a facility or care for a family member at home, find ways that you can relieve stress during the times that you are providing care. Try building some activities into your daily schedule that will allow you to relax and break the cycle of stress.
A meal break can make all the difference when you are exhausted from giving care. When you take a break for a meal, use it to the fullest. Eating is one of life’s pleasures. Take time to savor your meal. If you work in a facility, make sure you have another employee cover your patients during your lunch break. Even if you only have 30 minutes, a meal break is not just time to eat; it is time to rest your mind and body.
Take a brief walk. Taking a 10-minute walk outside provides an opportunity to get some fresh air and clear your mind. As a matter of fact, if you schedule a walk each day, you will look forward to it, and you will return to your caregiving duties with a fresh perspective.
Confide in a friend. Most of us know someone at work who will lend a listening ear without being judgmental. Sometimes you need to vent your frustrations to a friend who can offer you some positive encouragement. A burden shared is half the burden.