Are you a caregiver? While you focus on caring for others what do you do to take care of yourself?
Being a caregiver can be one of the most challenging jobs we are called to do. To do it well we have to take care of ourselves. Here are some tips and tools to help reduce anxiety and stress.
1. Relieve Stress through:
- Exercise: Watch a video, walk around the mall, walk around the block
- Mindfulness: Open hearted non-judgmental attention to the present moment. An easy exercise is STOP: Stop, Take a Breath, Observe, Proceed.
- Journaling: Write an intention daily. Example: It is my intention to be kind to everyone I cross paths with today.
2. Find Humor: Think about the things that are really funny- and the stories you can share with others. The little things that make you smile.
3. Courage: This path takes a lot of strength and courage. What are your strengths? To ask for help when I need it.
4. Resilience: When did I bounce back when I thought I could not go on? What gives me resilience?
5. Spirituality: What do I believe in?
6. Attitude and Expectations: What is my attitude? Am I angry, frustrated or happy? Attitude defines many outcomes and expectations.
7. Support and Self Care: How long has it been since I have done something for myself? What is something that makes me feel cared for and loved? Do it!
These tips and tools will not only improve your quality of life, but it will also help your loved one. If you can take care of yourself, then you are less likely to get worn out from the daily requirements of a caregiver. You and your loved one will both be able to enjoy the rewards if you are taking the time for yourself.
-By Angela Caughlin, licensed clinical social worker in the Transition Medicine Clinic