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Self-Care Tips for Caregivers

by Guest Blogger, Beverly Nelson

A wise person once said, “Sometimes, asking for help is the most meaningful example of self-reliance.” When you’re responsible for taking care of someone else, it can become all too easy to lose yourself and your needs while caring for the person who depends on you.

When you’re a caregiver, without taking precautions, you can run the risk of burnout, experience higher stress levels, and even resent the person for whom you’re caring. Banish the mindset that taking time for self-care is selfish.

Self-care is a necessity, but what does it look like? Here are some ideas, which you can adapt to your particular needs and situation.

Tired Caregiver
support group

Join a support group. Whether you’re caring for someone with cancer, Alzheimer’s or another short- or long-term illness, find a group and join it. When you attend weekly or monthly meetings, sharing stories and advice about caregiving and self-care will help you to avoid compassion fatigue and caregiver PTSD.

good quality sleep

Prioritize getting a healthy amount and quality of sleep. A constant state of being overwhelmed can lead to restless nights, but a lack of shuteye can also cause ongoing stress. And as much as anxiety can cause restlessness, so can an outdated mattress and bedding set. If it’s been seven or more years since your mattress was replaced, your physical and mental health will benefit from sleeping on a new one. Beds-in-a-box are becoming an increasingly popular option for time- and budget-conscious shoppers, because they’re priced competitively with those in stores, and are available online and shipped straight to you. One of the most popular options available is the Leesa Mattress—its reviews score a near-perfect 4.8 out of 5! Similarly, if your bedding has lost its softness, treat yourself to a new set, and think about looking for material that will help you get the best quality of sleep. For example, if you find yourself waking up night after night feeling overheated, opt for a set of cooling sheets and a light comforter.

Celebrate Victories

Celebrate all victories—even small ones. If you’re forgetting the little victories because they’re overshadowed by more setbacks, try journaling. Gratitude journals provide a way to remember each day’s successes; when you get discouraged, you can remind yourself of those victories.

Women Greeting Girl

Ask for help. Don’t try to do everything alone, even if you’re convinced that you’re the only person who can do what’s needed. Others might do it differently, but focus on what you can control. Secure respite care. Ask family members, church members, friends, or trusted neighbors to stay with your patient so you can run errands or take a walk.

Focus on what you can control

Focus on what you can control. You can’t wish or pray a disease away. You can’t force family members to help more. You can’t control how other people respond, react, or behave. But you can focus on how you react to problems and—here’s the hard part—be willing to give up some control. Delegating is great! Micromanaging everything and everyone? Not so much.

Friends Chatting Over Coffee

Give yourself a break. Schedule daily “me time.” Put it on your calendar just as you would any other appointment. You could:

  • Meet a friend for coffee, or invite a friend over if you can’t leave the house.
  • Prioritize activities that give you pleasure, whether it’s crafting, gardening, jogging, playing with the kids, watching a game, or experimenting in the kitchen.
  • Pamper yourself—schedule a manicure or pedicure one week and a massage the next. Soak in the tub with a good book and glass of tea each night before bed. Buy fresh flowers for the house. Splurge on gourmet coffee. Treat yourself to something that makes you feel good.
Hard Plank Exercise For Obese Woman

Be good to your body. Don’t neglect exercising—even if you can’t get to the gym regularly, block out 15 – 30 minutes daily for some activity. Break it up into three 10-minute blocks if you must. Eat well by choosing healthy foods over sugar and caffeine.

Beautiful Woman Lifestyle Practicing And Exercising Vital Medita

Be good to your mind. Exercise helps fight fatigue and relieve stress, which helps to calm your mind. Do yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation.

When you’re stressed, don’t self-medicate with addictive substances. Doing so puts you at risk for serious issues. Instead, grab some fresh fruit or make yourself some tea. Take deep breaths—and if you can get away for a few minutes to walk around the neighborhood to clear your head, do so. Call or text a friend or find some funny videos on YouTube. These tips from caregiver.org suggest other great ways to reduce and manage stress.

If you are a caregiver and you’re experiencing signs of burnout, like poor health, sleeplessness, stress or anxiety, feeling sad, gaining or losing weight, feeling overwhelmed, or you’re becoming easily angry or irritated, take a step back before those feelings worsen.

The emotional and physical demands of caregiving can tax even the strongest, most resilient, optimistic person. Caregiving can feel like the loneliest, most isolating job on the planet, but you are never alone. You’ve got this! And if you’re looking for more resources, check out this list from the American Psychological Association.

It’s Time to Winterize

It’s that time of year when the roads can be hard to navigate between the snow and the ice. Make sure you and your vehicle are ready for the winter weather. Vehicles today are smarter to help you maneuver driving in bad weather, but there are still a few steps you can take to be proactive and safe. Here’s a short list of things to check:

  • Antifreeze: It is important to have the correct antifreeze/water mixture to prevent fluid from freezing in your radiator. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for information.
  • Battery: Check your battery. Cold weather is tough on your car’s battery. During cold weather, your engine requires more current from the battery in order to get the engine started. Make sure it’s up to the job.
  • Windshield Wiper Blades: Wiper blades are only good for a year. Replace yours if they look frayed or worn.
  • Windshield Wiper Fluid: Use freeze-resistant wiper fluid to keep your windshield clean and your vision clear.
  • Tires: Check your tires. Low air pressure and worn tires are especially dangerous on wet or slick roads, as both can reduce traction. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended PSI.
  • Oil: Check to make sure your oil levels are full.
Car Tires On Winter Road
  • Emergency Kit: Be prepared in case of an emergency. Keeping a safety kit in your car all year is a good idea, but especially important in those colder winter months. Items to include in your winter safety kit include:
    • Phone charger
    • Flashlight
    • Blanket, leather gloves, and hat
    • Bag of kitty litter or sand
    • Ice scraper and brush
    • Small shovel
    • Safe and leak-proof container of coolant
    • Snacks

If you don’t have time or you aren’t able to do the maintenance yourself, make sure you take your vehicle to a professional so you are safe on the roads during the winter months. If you want to make an appointment, with United Access, call us at 877-501-8267 or book your service appointment online.

We Are Proud of Our Military Employees

As Veteran’s Day approaches, a day to honor all military veterans, we wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all veterans and a special thank you to all of our employees who are military veterans.

At United Access, we proudly support our troops. A little more than ten percent of our workforce is comprised of military veterans. While we are proud of our veteran employees, we are even prouder to support our employees who are actively serving in the military today.

Jonah is not only our Service Manager at our Rowlett, Texas dealership, but he also serves proudly as Staff Sergeant for the U.S. Marines on a special task force. Task Force Southwest, made up of Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force and led by Brig. Gen. Roger Turner, Jr., trains and advises key leaders within the Afghan National Army 215th Corps and the 505th Zone National Police.

Our thoughts are with Jonah while he is away. If you would like to know more about Task Force Southwest, you can follow them on Facebook at Task Force Southwest.

To all U.S. Military, everyone at United Access thanks you for your service. Happy Veteran’s Day!