Is Caring Wearing you Down?

What a beautiful day it is here on the Gold Coast.  Welcome to the weekend - let's down tools and have some rest and relaxation time.  Easier said than done when you are in a caring role for a sick child, parent, friend or partner.  Even caring for the average well behaved and healthy child can bring a carer into a downward spiral of forgotten self care.  Feelings of overwhelm, exhaustion, depression and anxiety are often features of a caregiver - the responsibility of ensuring that person's needs are taken care of can be enormous.

Specifically however, when a person is caring for a sick or permanently injured loved one, Caregiver's Syndrome is a very common feature of this caring relationship.  Whilst I understand emphatically the importance of some self sacrifice when in a care giver's role, the danger to the carer is that martyrdom often takes over very quickly and the concept of pulling away to care for their own needs become a very low priority.  The main concern there of course is that if the carer gets ill, who takes care of the one they are looking after?

I believe that the caring role needs to be a rotating roster of family, friends and government agencies that share the role so that not one person burns out.  Here are my simple tips to avoid Caregiver's Syndrome:

1.  Find out what government support is available for your needs and what time frames need to be filled in by family and friends

2.  Set out a roster that allows everyone's needs to be met, if you are the sole carer - see if you can find a friend to give you an hour or two off once a day or every second day so you can go out and have some down time.  In that down time, do things for yourself, not errands relating to the caring role.

3. If it is coming up to your birthday or Christmas and you are asked what it is someone can get you, ask them for vouchers towards home pampering, car cleaning or other needs that free up your time, bring you relaxation or contributes to your wellbeing.

4.  Consider herbal adrenal and nervous system support to keep your cortisol and sleep hormones in check.

5.  Learn the art of meditation for those tricky times and to help you switch off at night.

6.  Factor in some exercise that you love - moving your body and laughing at the same time is very rejuvenating.

7.  Eat well - avoid stodgy processed carbohydrate foods, quick meals are rarely healthy ones but if you find that tricky - use one of those vouchers to speak with a professional who can give you some great ideas that are time savers.  Happy to help here.

8.  Avoid drowning yourself down with alcoholic beverages - the stress hormones are making your body toxic enough!

Remember - just because you are in a care giving role, does not mean that you are expected to completely sacrifice your own needs - your carer needs you - but so do you!

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