From enjoying a night out with friends to going for a walk in the woods, find out why mini-vacations are beneficial for family caregivers.
Making New Year’s resolutions is a time-honored tradition, but for many of us, keeping those resolutions can be a challenge. If better self-care is one of your New Year’s resolutions, and you’re a caregiver, it’s important not to let this particular goal slide. Being a family caregiver is a stressful job, and self-care is vital for mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. With the support of Phoenix, AZ home care services, family caregivers can have plenty of mini-vacations to help make 2019 a healthier and happier year.
What’s a mini-vacation, you ask? For those with multiple obligations – caregiving, kids, and a fulltime job, to name just a few – and very little time to travel, mini-vacations can be a lifeline to some much needed rest and relaxation. If you’re in need of some inspiration for a mini-vacation from your caregiving duties, the senior caregivers at Nightingale Homecare have compiled the following list:
Get a massage: As we’ve said, caregiving can be stressful, and often people carry that stress in their necks, shoulders, and backs. What better way to get some me-time and relief than booking a massage at a local day spa?
Go for a hike: Spending time outside in nature can lead to some significant health benefits. In fact, going for a walk in the woods has been shown to improve short term memory, reduce blood pressure, eliminate fatigue, and combat anxiety and depression. Choose your favorite local park or hiking trail and spend the day just enjoying nature.
Pick up a once-loved activity: Whether it’s knitting, playing guitar, or painting, returning to an activity you once loved can be healing. Consider taking a day or a weekend to drag out your arts and crafts supplies or dust off an old instrument and start playing again.
Treat yourself (and perhaps a date) to a new restaurant: You may not be able to travel to Italy at the moment, but you can try out that new Italian place everyone’s raving about! Take a friend or loved one with you for some good food and conversation.
Enjoy a show: A dark, quiet movie theater is always a good way to relax, but for something a little different, get tickets to a live performance. Whether it’s a concert from a band you love or a play at your local community theater, being part of the action can help you remember to embrace life outside of your caregiving, work, and family obligations.
Making time for ourselves is difficult today, especially for family caregivers. However, self-care is an important part of our health. If you are caring for a loved one and need respite care, contact the Phoenix, AZ home care experts at Nightingale Homecare. We can give you the time you need to rest and enjoy life while ensuring your loved one is safe, happy, and healthy.
Providing care for a senior loved one is highly rewarding. We’ve seen firsthand how families are able to strengthen bonds and grow closer to each other, learning to value and appreciate each day together as they overcome new challenges related to aging.
At the same time, however, we’re only human, and we naturally have a full range of emotions that come into play during the stresses of caring for a senior loved one. And while many of these feelings are positive, we need to honestly face and assess the emotions we may wish we weren’t experiencing, in order to remain mentally healthy and to be able to provide the highest level of care possible for our loved one.
The Arizona home health care experts at Nightingale Homecare share some of the more common feelings experienced as a result of family caregiving, and how to best cope with them:
Anger. Taking care of the many needs of an older adult can be challenging, and at times, frustrating, feelings that, if left unchecked, eventually lead to anger. It’s important for family caregivers to allow plenty of time for self-care, to talk with a trusted friend or counselor about frustrations, to get some exercise, take a nap, or any other activities that provide relaxation and rejuvenation.
Depression. Family caregiving can result in an increased risk for depression, as worries mount over a loved one’s condition or future, or the caregiver becomes isolated from other family and friends. Depression is a very serious condition that requires medical intervention. Talk to your physician if you’re experiencing overwhelming sadness, finding it difficult to sleep or eat healthy, feeling hopeless, or being unable to manage daily activities for yourself or your loved one.
Guilt. Guilt is so common in family caregivers, who, in spite of giving so much of themselves, feel as though they aren’t doing enough. Changing the internal messages we relay to ourselves can be helpful; rather than, “I’m not doing as much as I should for Mom,” try thinking instead, “I’m doing the best I can.”
To further help you self-assess your level of stress and risk for caregiver burnout, we offer a free caregiver burden checklist. Simply answer the questions as honestly as possible, total your score, and take steps as needed.
Most importantly, remember that no one can do everything alone, and that it’s not a weakness to reach out for help; rather, it takes great strength to know your limitations and to do what it takes to provide the very best care for a senior loved one – and for yourself. And thankfully, it’s as easy as picking up the phone and calling the professional Arizona home health care team at Nightingale Homecare! Our caregivers are fully trained, experienced, compassionate, and ready to partner with you to make sure both you and your senior loved one are healthy and thriving.
In this busy hustle-and-bustle life we live, it’s often a challenge to take care of the ones we love, let alone ourselves. Self-care is a difficult concept for many individuals, especially those caring for young children or an elderly loved one. Throw in the other responsibilities of life – a house, a job, concerns about our professional goals and achievements, along with all our other commitments – and taking care of ourselves drops even lower on our to-do list. But the truth is, that if we don’t stop and smell the roses and indulge in some self-care, the mental and physical exhaustion will catch up with us all at some point.
The thing about self-care is that it needs routine, consistent maintenance. It’s not something you can do and forget about for another six months like your auto tune-up. Like a physical workout, it requires commitment, but the payoffs will be tremendous.
We hear your excuses: “I don’t have time for me!” “Self-care is for the selfish!” “Let me first help the others in my life, and then I will help me!” It may be helpful for you to look at self-care like that oxygen mask dangling from the celling of a rapidly descending airplane. Do you remember the instructions from the flight attendant? Secure your own oxygen mask prior to helping those in need around you. This analogy is helpful to keep in mind when you start to view self-care as “selfish.” We really can’t be of use to anyone if we, ourselves, can’t breathe.
Of course it is important to care for others, but not at the expense of ourselves. Many people who have had a physical or emotional breakdown due to the lack of self-care end up the true champions of self-care and practice it happily, and you can too. Remember too, self-care doesn’t have to be a chore! It can be, and is meant to be, fun and enjoyable while you learn more about who you are and what you value. This new understanding makes for a more balanced, interesting individual. Self-care is specifically the time and activity you create for just you, and when done right, nurtures your whole self: spiritual, mental, physical and emotional.
There are tiny choices that you can make throughout the day to indulge yourself. Below are some ideas to help you get started:
Learn to say “No” to avoid over-commitment
Take up a new hobby
Journal and self-reflect
Find a spiritual community
Meditate (check out the “Headspace” app )
Spend time in nature: hikes, cloud-watching
Make connections with the important people in your life
Spend time finding things that make you laugh, cry and feel
Give yourself positive affirmations in the mirror
The best way family caregivers can ensure that time is carved out for self-care is by enlisting the help of a trusted Arizona home health care agency, like Nightingale Homecare. Our respite care services fill in the gaps with compassionate, experienced care for seniors, allowing their loved ones a much needed break to recharge. Contact us to learn more about how we can help improve quality of life – for the seniors you love, and for you!
A Nightingale representative would be happy to answer your questions or help you arrange for home care that is custom-fit to your needs.