The holidays are a beautiful and comforting time of year for many, but for some, they may also bring new challenges.
Caring for a loved one can take an emotional and physical toll over time if the caregiver does not practice self-care.
During the holiday season, how can you make sure you aren’t putting yourself last on your to-do list?
To support the caregivers in our community, The Kensington Falls Church hosted a virtual caregiver workshop.
During the Zoom event, Kensington Family Support Coach Susie Sarkisian and our panel of family caregivers offered tips and support to help you set aside time for you, which in turn will help you be the best caregiver to your loved one.
Read on to learn more about the event, and how to implement caregiver self-care during the busy holiday season.
How to balance the role of caregiving and self-care
One of the biggest myths about self-care is that it is selfish.
Many caregivers feel guilty taking care of themselves, and feel there is simply not enough time in the day to care for both themselves and their families.
During our caregiver workshop, Susie Sarkisian shared her expert advice on slowing down to savor this beautiful season with your loved one.
You will be provided with the support you need to lighten your holiday load, so you can slow down and take care of yourself.
At The Kensington Falls Church, we understand deeply the challenges you face as a caregiver because we are a community of caregivers.
In order to find more balance in your day to care for yourself and others, you will have to incorporate personal stress relief, ask for help, and recognize the signs in your body that you are doing too much.
Ways to incorporate methods of stress relief and self-care into your busy routine
To find a truly effective method of stress relief, it must be unique to your interests.
For example, reading a book may be self-care for some, but not for others.
The trick to incorporating self-care for caregivers is to start small, and gradually carve out time in your day for the things that make you happy.
Take a look at the following examples of stress relief or self-care for inspiration:
- Be kind to yourself
- Eat nourishing foods
- Get enough sleep
- Practice yoga, meditation, or prayer
- Reach out to friends and family for support
While this list may seem simple, take a look at how you’re spending your time throughout the day and recognize where you aren’t meeting your needs.
Sometimes, taking the time to eat three meals a day, get enough rest, or take a 30-minute nap every afternoon is enough to keep us feeling healthy and balanced.
When to ask for help caregiving, and how to not be afraid of doing it
If you feel like you have no time in the day to take care of yourself, you may be right!
This is a sign that you need to ask others for help because you’re stretched too thin.
The first step to asking for help from friends and family is to understand exactly what you need.
Make a list of your responsibilities, and divide the list into the tasks you must take care of yourself, and the tasks that can be done by another family member or friend.
For example, can you ask your sister to pick up a parent’s medications once a month? Is your nephew willing to call or visit his grandfather once a week for an uplifting chat that gives you a moment to fold laundry or prepare a meal?
These simple tasks can build up to grant you precious time to take a moment for other tasks or practice self-care.
When caregiving becomes too much: Signs and symptoms of burnout
Unfortunately, if we ignore our body’s basic needs for stress relief and self-care, we run the risk of developing caregiver burnout.
Caregiver burnout is when a person becomes too physically or emotionally exhausted, and it can cause serious health consequences over time.
The signs of caregiver stress and burnout include:
- Getting sick often
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Feeling irritable, hopeless, or helpless
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Lack of appetite or over-indulging
- Feeling tired and sad often
- Losing interest in activities you used to love
If you’re experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important to focus on meeting your basic needs, and asking for help with your loved one in order to accomplish these self-care tasks.
Remember the old saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” You must fill up your own cup before you are able to love and serve others the way you desire.
How The Kensington Falls Church devotes care to benefit both seniors and their family caregivers
The Kensington Falls Church understands the difficult decisions and challenging family dynamics our community caregivers must navigate.
To combat caregiver stress and burnout, our community is dedicated to offering numerous caregiver resources, including our recurring Caregiver Connect events, our blog, and our Kensington Konnect page filled with tips and entertainment.
If you’re struggling as a caregiver—you are not alone.
The Kensington is dedicated to caring that benefits both our residents and their family caregivers.
Whether you’re contemplating the decision to move your loved one to a senior living community or providing care at home, The Kensington Falls Church is here for you.
The Kensington Falls Church, your partner in caregiving
The Kensington Falls Church Promise is to love and care for our residents as we do our own family.
This Promise extends to the families of our residents as well, because we understand that senior living is just as much about the family as it is about the senior.
If you’re interested in learning more about our assisted living and memory care services, reach out to our loving team today. We look forward to hearing about your loved one and sharing all the ways we can meet and exceed their needs.