How to Balance your Life while Being a Caregiver
Working as a caregiver is ideally more than just a job — it's a way of life. However, it's sometimes easy for those in this line of work to begin to feel a little drained. After all, they are literally giving of themselves on an almost daily basis, and it's easy for those caring for seniors to neglect their own lives. Can you relate?
Although it's natural to feel a little overwhelmed on an occasional basis, if it becomes a regular part of your emotional picture, you're at risk for developing career burnout. Keep in mind that in order to be the best possible caregiver for others, it's necessary to care for yourself first!
Signs of Caregiver Burnout
Signs and symptoms of burnout vary per individual, but common signs include irritability, difficulty concentrating, feelings of resentment, and a general feeling of being run-down and tired. Caregivers with advanced burnout may even find themselves neglecting responsibilities.
Here's what you can do to bring some balance into your life:
Carve Out Time for Friends and Family
Even if it's just once or twice per week, having lunch or dinner out with friends and/or family makes a huge difference in creating positive balance in your life. If you're living in an area where you don't know very many people, consider joining book clubs or other groups designed to promote meaningful interaction. If nothing else, head to a local coffee shop for an hour or two on a regular basis.
A simple walk around the block every day can do wonders to lift your spirits. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining a positive mood, and even the small amount of exercise you'll get will generate endorphin activity. If you've got parks or other areas offering abundant natural beauty within easy walking or driving distance, be sure to visit these areas as often as you can.
Set Aside Time for Hobbies
Hobbies and interests are often the first things to be set aside by those who are spending big chunks of their day caring for seniors, but this inevitably leads to resentment. Hobbies may feel like a luxury, but they're actually necessities for those trying to avoid becoming emotionally exhausted and otherwise overwhelmed by nonstop caregiving obligations. If you don't have hobbies or have outgrown the ones that used to interest you, now is the perfect time to explore new interests.
Take Control of Your Schedule
Caregiver burnout rates are higher among those who feel as if they have none or very little control over their own schedules. A schedule provides a natural boundary that makes it easier to decide how to spend your time on things that hold meaning, like cultivating hobbies and staying connected with friends and family.
By working for Visiting Angels, you retain complete control over your own caregiving schedule. Whether you want to work full or part-time, you're the one calling the shots. You have the choice of working mornings, evenings, weekends, or whatever combination of these works best for you.
Please feel free to reach out to us at your convenience by calling 828-665-3944 or visiting our Caring Careers Page to find out more about the amazing difference that working for a company that cares can make in your life.