Why Caregivers Need Regular Time Alone
By Brandi Goodman
Caregiver stress creeps up quickly. When your sole responsibility is to care for another person day in and day out, it can take a toll on both your mental and physical well-being. Many caregivers put that other person's needs above their own. Regular time alone is necessary if you hope to maintain your own health so you can care for another person without compromising yourself.
A Mental Health Day
All of the responsibility is on your shoulders each day. That can take a major toll on your mind. When you're constantly worried about what you need to do next, whether the person you're caring for is healthy and well, and what other daily tasks have been left unfinished, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Taking a mental health day is necessary to keep your mind and body working well and ensuring you can continue the job. Letting yourself get burnt out will not bode well for your mental health.
Even when you're with another person all day, it's easy to feel lonely when you're responsible for them. You're not often talking about you and your problems, but instead focusing on them and theirs. You need time with your own friends and family -- away from the job -- so you can feel fulfilled.
Time for Exercise
Your physical well-being can quickly go downhill when you're too busy caring for another. You're often focused on their needs and not your own. Your body and mind both require daily exercise for you to remain in good health. You need to keep your body strong so you can handle the tasks that may accompany being a caregiver, such as lifting the person from a wheelchair to a bed or helping them in the restroom. Always schedule time for exercise each day so you can keep yourself strong and well.
Find a Support Group
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to find a support group. You may not be able to talk to your friends or family about the stress you feel with your caregiving duties because they simply don't understand. Speaking with other caregivers who fully comprehend the true stress you're under is better to help you feel like you're not alone.
Caregiver stress will always be part of the job, but there are things you can do to help combat it. Take some regular time for yourself so you can get the exercise, alone time, and socialization you need to maintain your own mental and physical well-being. A healthier you will better be able to help the person you're caring for.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Santee, Calif.