National Family Caregiver Month — Every day, but especially the month of November, is a time to commemorate the caregivers in our lives and across the country, draw awareness of caregiving issues, educate the community, and increase support for caregivers.
Providing care for loved ones is rewarding and fulfilling but can also become overwhelming. Studies indicate that a vast majority of caregivers experience anxiety and depression as it is easy to get wrapped up in the health of loved ones, as well as see it as a foreshadowing of what may happen to oneself. This emotional and physical toll on caregivers is called burnout.
While caring for others, caregivers tend to forget about themselves or push their needs aside. Caregivers advocate for a healthy diet, routine exercise, mental practices, and proper treatments with their clients. Still, it is important to practice what they preach and habituate these daily practices in their own lives as well.
“One must fill their own cup before filling others” is a saying that’s often easier said than done. But through continuing to empower and support the caregivers in our lives and community, the adverse repercussions often associated with caregiving can be reduced and diminished, enabling caregivers to provide care for themselves and loved ones longer and stronger.
Ways to Support & Commemorate Caregivers
- Routinely reach out and check on the caregivers in your life.
- Ask about their day.
- Offer a helping hand with daily tasks (laundry, dishes, housekeeping, etc.)
- Lend a listening ear or shoulder to lean on.
- Cook them a meal or invite them out to dinner.
- Write a thank you letter about the amazing care they have given you and your family.
- Encourage them to seek mental health services if necessary.
Whatever it may be, find a way to make the caregiver in your life feel included, heard, and loved.
Ways to Recharge as a Caregiver
- Practice healthy living with routine exercise and a balanced diet.
- Find time for a hobby that makes you happy and feel accomplished, creative, or peaceful.
- Discover a mindful practice that brings you peace of mind or an outlet to channel your emotions.
- Journal. Getting your thoughts out on paper (or digitally) can be very therapeutic.
- Establish a support system however feels best for you — through friends and family, a support group, etc.
- Reach out when needed, either to your support system or a healthcare or mental health professional.
Never feel guilty for taking time for yourself. Taking the time to care for oneself can ultimately lengthen the strides in your life as well as those around you and those you are caring for. If you’re a family caregiver and struggling with caregiver burnout, please reach out to us and let us help you care for you.