11 de-stressing tips for family caregivers

It’s Mother’s Day weekend! As dedicated health care professionals, our top priority is to provide compassionate and personalized care for our clients. We recognize that the moms and dads out there are the home health care professionals and that all too often, these selfless caregivers experience “caregiver fatigue”–a sense of being completely overwhelmed by their generous commitments.

So to all the Mothers (and Fathers), this is for you:

11 De-stressing Tips for Family Caregivers

  1. Look for help outside the home: this could be from your best friend, social groups, church groups, family members, etc. They often are willing to help out, they just need to know how. Do not be afraid to ask–a break of as little as one or two hours per week could change your world.
  2. Talk it out: Having a conversation can be great therapy for caregivers. You are likely not alone facing the same challenges. Find them and talk to them. As caregivers, you are certainly not alone.
  3. Exercise: This is an important one. Staying active, keeping yourself moving distresses and lets you have your time. Even a 10-minute walk will drastically make a difference to your busy day. You don’t need to go to the gym for 30min, just a walk outside (especially with the sunny weather we are having) could recharge your batteries.
  4. Prioritize: Pick your battles. One person cannot do it all. Go easy on yourself and find help in others (see Number 1). It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  5. Technology can reduce the burden: In our day and age, cellphones and computers can do a lot. With robots that will vacuum and mop your floors, to GPS tracking, remote monitoring, you can spread tasks around so that you do have to.
  6. Keep a to-do list: For people strapped for time, and have a lot on the go, a to-do list helps keep you organized. Follow your game plan and try not to keep adding things on the go. If you have to, keep it for another day–it’s actually good for your health to see the list actually being completed (see 4, prioritize). Don’t forget to add notes like, when does it need to get done by and who can help me? (see 1, and learn to ask for help)
  1. Learn to say no: No is sometimes not on everyone’s vocabulary, believe it or not. It’s especially hard when it comes from family, friends or other social circles that you may not have time for. Remember that you, yourself is high on your priority list. The better you take care of yourself, and your time, the more you can actually get done.
  1. Laugh: Can’t stress enough that your feeling will dictate how you will conduct your day. Therefore, smile and laugh. Laughter is the best medicine.
  2. Cook in bulk: Some of the most time consuming things we do in a day is cooking. The shopping, prep work, the cooking, the storing–it’s all a lot of work. Cut it in half by cooking in bulk, and storing it for the future. Seal it, freeze it, and you have left overs for the week. Slow cookers are a nice option too.
  3. Reward yourself: Do more than just pat yourself on the back. Do something that even you can recognize you got completed a hard task. Give yourself a weekend away, give yourself an extra scoop of ice-cream–you deserve it! Whatever it is, continue to remind yourself that you have earned it.
  4. Let go of things you cannot control: Sometimes it’s hard to say out loud, but sometimes it really isn’t your fault–you can only do so much. Recognize the things you cannot control (ie. a family member just had surgery), and focus on the things that you can (ie. making sure they stay comfortable).

So here’s a quick list of things you can do to de-stress, but you probably already knew all of these. You just needed a reminder. Happy Mother’s Day.