You may be exhausted from having to balance work and family life while taking care of an adult family member who is recovering from an illness, injury or hospitalization, or who is simply aging. While caregiving is rewarding, it is physically and emotionally exhausting. Your own needs tend to take a back seat to everyone else’s.
Many caregivers know the basic ways to manage stress levels: take a day off and get a massage, exercise, etc. For those who may be too busy caregiving to do research or remember some of the practical things that can help you avoid caregiver burnout, here are some tips:
- Depending on your responsibilities at work and as a caregiver at home, one of the most important things you can do to balance your schedule is talking to your employer’s human resources department. Larger employers can offer flexible hours, counseling and support services, and they may be required to provide time off in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act. Under federal law, employers who meet certain criteria must allow you to take up to 12 weeks off (either all at one time, or a few days here and there) without fear of losing your position.
- Connecting with other caregivers can be one of the most valuable resources to you. Fellow caregivers understand the struggles and stress that you know all too well. You may feel like you can’t open up to many people in your life about your stress because they may not understand. Joining a caregiver support group can help alleviate day-to-day stress and offer you useful information. Masonic Village hosts community support groups for caregivers in the surrounding community at no cost.
- Caregiver guilt can inhibit you from having balance in your life – especially if you are taking care of more than one family member. The feeling that you need to spend equal time with everyone in your life can drain you. It’s important to remember that everyone doesn’t need the same care, so you should strive to provide care based on need, not fairness. Don’t let the guilt of spending extra time with your spouse or children on weekends make you overwork yourself during the week to spend an equal amount of time taking care of a parent.
- Consider enjoying the benefits of a home care service. It’s okay to reach out and receive help from professional care providers to help balance your life. Masonic Village Home Care has dependable, background-checked and trained caregivers who provide consistent, reliable, high quality service under the supervision of a registered nurse. Even if your loved one only needs a few hours of care per week, a home care service can dramatically reduce stress and provide you valuable personal time.
It’s important to balance your life as a caregiver to avoid stress and health complications. Remember that caregiving is about caring for the entire family, which includes you. If you don’t take care of yourself, it will be harder to mentally and physically fulfill your duties as a caregiver. Contact Masonic Village Home Care staff for more details on services to benefit you and your loved one.