For family caregivers, no two days are the same, and yet every day may feel like every other day. The reality of your life during this season of caregiving is that you cannot count on the sameness of days, but your routines will help you maintain your sanity and your quality of care.
In order to succeed at family caregiving over an extended period of time, you must operate under a plan and a set of routines that will ward off depression and manage physical disability for you as well as those you care for. Whether you care for one individual or several family members, these strategies can help you avoid falling into the pit of despair as you move from one day into the next. Your health and resiliency are critical to maintaining during this challenging time. Be sure to go out and take a walk, even if it’s only a trip down the driveway to get the mail or paper. If you have longer, go for a walk around the block or through the neighborhood. Breathe deeply and savor the fresh air and sunshine. Thank God for the beauty of His creation. Feel His love for you and your loved one.
Be sure to eat healthy meals and snacks; don’t let your hunger undermine your healthy eating plan because you forgot to pack meals or snacks. Plan ahead and your plan will succeed! Also remember, several small meals throughout the day are better than three big meals. This can help you stabilize your blood sugar and avoid an afternoon crash or slump.
Many people like having a to-do list and checking off things when each task is finished. A to-do list gives your day a framework by which to identify your accomplishments, even if that accomplishment is as small as baking a batch of cookies or changing the sheets on the bed.
Without some way to measure your progress, you might lose yourself in the void of a seemingly meaningless day to day existence.
Making some opportunities for “Me” time can also be of real benefit here. Don’t feel embarrassed or inadequate to admit that you can’t do everything by yourself. Ask trusted friends, church members, or family to step in and help you out periodically so you can keep yourself healthy and give better care to your loved ones.
For more tips on how best to take care of yourself and avoid some of the pitfalls of family caregiving, check out these suggestions from the Family Caregiver Alliance
Chris and I hope you will join our conversation this week at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about how you avoid the pitfalls of family caregiving.