Whether you are a caregiver by profession, choice, or circumstance, it can be a rewarding role. There are people who need you, and you’ll give all you can. Still, you will need to regularly monitor your own physical and emotional well-being.
Some days may be status quo, while others will be full of front-line challenges where you are reacting and making difficult decisions quickly. That takes up a lot of energy. Couple that with your own life full of decisions and to-dos and it can all put a drain on you emotionally.
Please remember; there is a better version of you who is not filled with stress to the point that you cannot see around it. You can’t see through a fuzzy lens or react with a distracted mind, so if you continuously focus on the checklist and the emergencies and forget to self-check, you may make mistakes at one of the critical moments in your caregiving role.
I encourage you to ask yourself the question, “Am I paying attention to my burnout and doing something about it?”
If the answer is anything other than “yes,” here are some ideas to help you refocus and de-stress:
Recognize – notice how you go through your days. Are things starting to build up, perhaps even the most minor things are becoming overwhelming?
Connect – whether through friends, family, colleagues, a group with common interests, or a professional, don’t keep things bottled up inside. Talking about what is happening can calm your thoughts and give light to a new perspective.
Take a break – push away from your social media feed or the news. If you’re going through stress yourself, hearing negative news can darken your days. It doesn’t mean you have to disconnect. Just lighten the ‘load’ a bit.
Shift your focus – practice gratitude and positive affirmations. Whether you begin or end your day with a written list, this is a practice that helps shift your focus. So easy to get caught up with life’s drama, gratitude and affirmations can change the energy to the positive.
Filling yourself up first is not selfish. Intentional self-care gives you the ability to respond more effectively.
Today will be yesterday soon enough. Although this may be a simple concept to grasp, this moment is the only moment we own. Please take time to recognize all of the energy and efforts that you give throughout your days. Honor yourself as you honor others and see the positive ripple effect of change happen.