How Caregivers Can Treat Themselves this Labor DaySeptember 4, 2023
How Caregivers Can Treat Themselves this Labor Day
After a year of giving 110% to one’s employer, Labor Day is a much-welcome reprieve for many Americans. As the unofficial end of summer, we gather to enjoy a day of relaxation and fun with our friends and family. When you work as a caregiver, that kind of time is precious.
If you’re a caregiver who has Labor Day off, use this holiday to attend to your self-care needs—mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social. Self-care looks a little different for everyone, but there are a few key ways how caregivers can treat themselves this Labor Day. This allows you to return to their responsibilities feeling refreshed.
Allow yourself a quiet moment
When you provide care to an elderly loved one, it’s difficult to find time to enjoy a quiet moment. On your day off, make a point to enjoy a quiet, relaxing activity. This will look different for everyone. However, it may include reading a book, practicing needlepoint, or drinking your coffee on the porch. Even just half an hour can help calm your mind.
During this time, try to stay present in the current moment. This practice is called “mindfulness,” or purposefully staying in the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness decreases levels of anxiety and depression in caregivers. This improves your mental health as well as your caregiving abilities.
If you’ve considered taking your mindfulness practice a step further, try meditation. While you may have seen meditation represented in media as something practiced by hippies, it is far more significant than that. Through breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and the repetition of a key mantra, many caregivers experience overall improved well-being.
You may feel uncomfortable the first time you try meditation. However, just like any new habit, as time passes the positive impacts will be unmistakable.
Spend the afternoon with your friends
While acting as a caregiver for your elderly loved one is a rewarding role, you may not be able to engage with your friends as often as you’d like to. This Labor Day, get together with your closest friends to take a load off. Whether you spend a quiet evening at home or at a large cookout, spending time with your friends is one of the best ways to rid yourself of the stressors of providing care to a loved one.
Time with your family members is always welcome. However, there may come a certain sense of obligation that may exacerbate stress. A barbeque with friends, on the other hand, allows you to speak freely without the responsibility of caring for a loved one hanging over your head.
Ask a family member to take over your care responsibilities for the day.
If you have an elderly loved one who can’t be left alone, talk to members of your family who live nearby. One of them may be able to take over these responsibilities for one day so that you can care for yourself. Seek out their help sooner rather than later so your elderly loved one isn’t surprised by a sudden change.
Remember: caregiver burnout is a real, serious problem. If you realize you’re expressing symptoms of burnout, call upon the support of a friend or family member. This is for the sake of your own mental health as well as your loved one.
Reduce the stress of caregiving with Home Care Powered by AUAF
Despite how much you enjoy providing support to the person you care for, it’s no secret that the job is difficult. The strain is doubly felt if you’ve had to take time off work to provide that care.
If this is a reality you’ve had to face, you’re not alone—and there is a solution. You can receive compensation for the care you already provide by becoming an at-home caregiver with Home Care Powered by AUAF. Thanks to the IDoA’s Community Care Program, you can receive free training from a home care agency. Upon completion, caregivers are paid to offer their loved one superior care.
For more than 30 years, we have helped families in the Chicago area feel at ease. For more information on our services, give us a call at 773-274-9262. We would be happy to help you take the steps you need to become a caregiver.
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