As we live longer lives, we have created the ‘sandwich generation’. A whole span of adults who are caring not just for growing offspring, but older parents too, and the responsibilities can be overwhelming at times. Do you wonder where your life has gone?
Do you wonder where your life has gone?
And anyone in the caregiving profession also knows how overwhelming the demands of the job can be. This is particularly true if things don’t work out well, or when you have no control over a situation.
This stress can pile up and cause a toll on your state of mind, relationships or health if it goes unchecked. When fatigued, it’s difficult to indulge in anything else, and it’s becoming a necessity that you take care of yourself.
In this article, psychology expert Marcus Clarke explains five ways to regain your energy and optimism…
1. Get empowered
The chief contributor to burnout and depression is the feeling of powerlessness among caregivers, but there are ways to change your mindset and feel hopeful and happy. If you embrace your choice and make a conscious objective to provide care, the task will be more fulfilling.
Don’t dwell on the issues that are beyond your control, but try to refine the manner in which you respond to problems.
The chief contributor to burnout and depression is the feeling of powerlessness
2. Get support from friends and family
Don’t struggle alone, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Taking care of all responsibilities with no breaks can lead to burnout, so try and enlist the people living close to you to help so that you can have a break.
Speaking up is very helpful, as sharing your thoughts and concerns can improve your situation. Work to spread responsibility.
3. Find time to catch a break
For caregivers, particularly those who live with their patients, whether they’re spouses or a professional patient, taking some time out for leisure is essential for your wellbeing, and influences the quality of the care that you provide. Getting some time off to rest and do something different that you enjoy is critical.
It’s also essential to maintain close personal relationships, as they sustain you and keep you motivated. Treat yourself with small luxuries to boost your dampened spirits, like taking a long relaxing bath or getting a massage. A carer often stays indoors for long hours, so get out more often to see the world.
4. Look after your health – mental and physical
If you neglect your body, the stress can cause avoidable health woes, so try not to skip medical appointments and check-ups just because you’re busy taking care of loved ones. Being healthy is essential so that you in turn can provide better care.
Go out for daily jogs or walks, or devise an exercise regime to help remove fatigue and boost your energy levels. Meditating can help with stress and increase your wellbeing, as well as raise your feelings of positivity. Proper nourishment fuels your body to perform optimally too.
5. Join a support group
There are caregiver forums with other individuals going through the same troubles as you, which is an excellent way of sharing your daily experiences.
As you exchange views, not only will you get help, it’s likely you’ll be able to provide support to others. This forum contains a safe feeling of knowing that other people are going through the same situation, and the information gained here can prove invaluable.
Marcus regularly blogs at psysci, a psychology and science blog that examines the latest research, and explains how findings can impact and improve people’s lives.