It’s a new decade and it’s time for caregivers to proactively prioritize their mental health to avoid burnout.
Professional caregiving is not for the faint of heart. It takes a desire to impact the lives of others. Many have children of their own, maybe family caregivers for someone close to them, and often find themselves working multiple jobs. The effect on one’s physical and emotional wellbeing can be overwhelming. Often, when a person being cared for is under duress, their caregiver can feel it also. That empathy is what leads many professional caregivers to the field, but it also can lead to exhaustion and burnout which takes a toll on your mental health.
The mental stress experienced on a regular basis can have a negative effect. It’s true, you cannot care for others properly if you’re not putting your own needs first. That can be difficult advice to follow, but it’s imperative not only for yourself but for those under your care. Fortunately, there are some realistic, easy ways to proactively prioritize your mental health:
Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to improve long term stress levels and your overall mood. Writing for just 20 minutes a day can have positive, long term effects, both on your mental health, and physically. It’s one of the most therapeutic actions you can take, and the benefits of how you feel after are almost immediate. You can learn more about journaling and all its benefits here.
Often, people hear the word meditation and immediately think, “I could never stop my thoughts long enough to meditate”. Here’s the kicker – no one can, it’s impossible. That’s not the point. Sitting with yourself in silence allows you to be aware of your thoughts, and instead of reacting to them, acknowledging them without attachment to the feelings they induce. Even ten minutes a day (sometimes less!) produces benefits such as stress reduction, increased concentration, peace of mind, reduction in blood pressure numbers, better sleep, and overall better mental health. You can find out more about meditation, how to get started, and it’s many benefits here.
Yoga is another fantastic way to prioritize yourself before you start giving to others. As with journaling and meditation, it doesn’t take much time out of your day to produce massive benefits. Just 15 minutes a day produces effects such as stress reduction, better sleep, more energy, boosts your immune system, and allows you to communicate with your body, and how each part of it feels. This quick, 15-minute routine is easy to follow, and it’s enough to have you feeling real results, very soon.
There are many more ways to put yourself first on a daily basis, but the only place to start is at the beginning. The practices listed in this article take less than an hour a day in total, and you’ll find the benefits to be exponential. Caring for yourself first allows you to fully serve those you care for, in the most fulfilling and rewarding way possible, for both you, and those in your charge.
A Place At Home is always looking to hire qualified and compassionate caregivers. Apply today to be a professional caregiver that makes an impact on the lives of seniors.