Sometimes with taking care of family, it’s better to do it yourself. I’ve been working as a caregiver (working for your family member for an agency like FreedomCare and getting paid) since December 2020. During this time, I’ve been wondering what I will do after this. Working as a caregiver allowed me to return to school and work on other creative projects like writing. I’m either on my book, trying to figure out which direction I am going for this site, or writing a post for this blog here. This is how I stay stress-free and productive while caring for my mother. Over the years, before I even started working as a caregiver, I started and stopped various businesses, not because they were a failure but mainly because I didn’t know what to do next. The problem was that I didn’t have a plan.
Like Maya Angelou says, “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
Have you ever had this clear vision of yourself that it’s like a glimpse into the future? It lets you know that your current circumstances are not your final destination. You are worth more than how you see yourself right now. You have to figure out what steps and actions you need to take to achieve that future vision of yours while dealing with the daily stresses of caregiving at the same time. So, create a plan, create a goal list, and a to-do list.
Like when people tell you that when you have a baby, you have to sleep when they sleep, so you don’t feel overwhelmed or drained? It is the same or similar process as caregiving. When my mother wakes up in the morning, I make her breakfast, give my mother her medication, and then she usually lies back down to go back to sleep. You have to use this time wisely. You can either:
- Take a nap if you are tired.
- Getting some stuff done that is on your to-do list for yourself.
I’m usually working on one of my creative projects now, so having a to-do list for the day is good. You have to make sure your to-do list is not overwhelming, where you find yourself stressed out because you barely completed it. Remember, you might have a to-do list for the family member you also care for. Your to-do list should be what you are doing now for your short-term goals to achieve your long-term goals.
For example, say wash day is Thursday, and you have a ton of clothes to wash. If you have a washing machine and dryer at home, the things you can get done that you can do at home that is on your to-do list. You do those things. This means your to-do list should be organized by day because you are working around your family member’s schedules.
Depending on their health, they could have good or bad days. They say each day is different, so you don’t put too much on your to-do list. When you need to do errands for them, take care of some of your business that you know might not take that long. Don’t be afraid to switch up your to-do list, especially if you feel frustrated about going to that store you would do tomorrow or today so that you can have a mental break.
We love our family members, but sometimes they could be doing too much! Here are ten things you can do when you are stressed out when you are a caregiver:
- Take a break and put yourself first by accomplishing some self-care activities.
- Suppose you have other family members or friends that can lend a helping hand. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you may need. Seek out a support group if you don’t have other friends or family to account for.
- Allow your friends and family member to help you with your caregiving tasks when available.
- Make sure you are realistic with your goals and outlook on your current situation for yourself and the family member you are caring for.
- Manage and maintain organization with your schedule, to-do list, and responsibilities.
- When you are overwhelmed, take a moment to relax and do some deep breathing exercises.
- Research and find ways to network and connect with other home health services.
- Stay positive and get a sense of humor because it will help you to laugh through rough times.
- Don’t be afraid to find a therapist or counselor if needed.
- Understand that technology is your friend. If you can use technology to help you accomplish your caregiving tasks, do so.
- Keep your family abreast with their caregiving health issues to alleviate stress.
Caregiving is something that many people are involved in, twice as someone needing help or giving help. It also puts things into perspective if you are not living a healthy lifestyle. I try to be healthier now because I know I don’t want to put myself in my mother’s situation. So, I try to do better; that is all you can do.