Caregiving And Mental Health – Protect Yourself From Stress
As a caregiver, you understand that your role is to provide care for your patients. Sometimes, you get too attached to your duties that you even feel guilty taking time for yourself. That sounds unfair, but you know it happens all the time. Part of your responsibility is ensuring your patients’ needs 24/7, especially when no one is available to get on your shoes. You worry all the time because you do not want to let down the persons who needed you the most. And even if you feel exhausted, you know you have to assist your loved ones’ needs regardless of your emotional and mental status. But I tell you, you should stop stress and exhaustion once and for all. Because if you don’t, you might not only harm yourself in the long run but might also impact your loved ones’ overall well-being.
You are human too. You have your physical, emotional, and mental needs as well. Understandably, you want to be a reliable person that your patients or loved ones can trust. However, you know you get stressed and exhausted most days too. You are not invincible, and there is no way life challenges can put an exemption on you. Think about this. How are you supposed to help your patients when you can’t handle the emotional and mental stress? Perhaps you think that no one understands your situation because others see you as a strong and dependable individual. You provide support to your loved ones, and you know their everyday needs. But what about your needs? Aren’t they essential as well?
So often, when you provide care for others, you forget to ensure your well-being. That is where you experience burnout where physical, mental, and emotional issues arise. That is where you tend to feel overwhelmed about things around you. Those particular stressors can make you engage in negative self-talk. It is vital to realize that helping someone is difficult when you don’t take care of yourself first. You need to note that proper self-care is a must so you can stay healthy inside and out. It will allow you to maintain an excellent mindset to continue to provide the necessary assistance to others. Here are some of the few things you might want to consider.
Engage In Physical Activities – As a caregiver, you need to understand the importance of moving your body. Perhaps at times when you think your job is over, you can get enough rest. Maybe you throw yourself on the couch and binge-watch while waiting for another task. But instead of doing that, why not consider looking for other things that allow physical engagement? There is dancing, walking, gardening, or doing housework. There are many proven health benefits to physical activities, and one of them is to keep you away from burnout. Try it.
Change Your Environment – Your caregiving job is full of pressure, and sometimes it can get out of hand. Before trying to crawl up in bed and feel sorry about your situation, why not consider changing your environment even for a little while? Take a vacation or visit a place you like. No, it does not mean you are trying to avoid your responsibilities. Think about it as an instant escape from emotional and mental exhaustion. Changing your environment can allow you to have time to process things accordingly. It helps you become calmer and better at decision-making.
Practice Breathing Exercise – If you think changing your environment is too much work, you don’t have to leave or go far places. You can practice breathing exercises to reduce stress. Sometimes, a few minutes of meditation and focus on your breathing can positively impact your emotional and mental health. Thus, it can make you feel better. Breathing exercises allow you to control your mind and body, which is entirely essential for refocusing. You can also try yoga as it also supports physical, mental, and emotional calmness.
Follow A Healthy Diet – Not because you provide care, that does not mean you should ignore your needs. As much as you want your patients or loved ones to eat a balanced diet, you should practice it as well. Your mind and body are as much as important as theirs. Both you and your loved ones deserve a healthy immune system. Always remember that no one is exempted when it comes to mental illness. Not because you are taking care of others does not mean you are excused to overall health damage.
It is essential to understand that you also experience having a rough day. And you can’t stop that from happening. Stress is inevitable, and you can never tell when your mind and body will take the damage. Be mindful to consider your health so that you can better care for others.