Caregiving can be unexpected and may easily become overwhelming. It's important to support our loved ones, but that doesn't mean we should ignore our own needs at the same time. Here are some ways you can avoid burnout by engaging in healthy self-care.
Take Stress Down
Our home should be our oasis from stress. If these areas are cluttered, dirty, or chaotic, it can increase the stress we experience. Spend 10 minutes each day cleaning up one area to keep things feeling free. Should a room feel oppressive, try opening your curtains to let in natural light. Some fresh air can also do a world of good, so if weather permits, open the window. If a family member is the source of your anxiety, it's best to be upfront with them. Have a conversation about what you need from them, or write a letter about what is causing you grief. Don't be accusatory; instead, remain as gracious as possible. After all, an easier talk lets us focus on working toward lowering our stress levels.
Be Proactive About Sleep
Losing sleep can affect how we feel emotionally and physically. To improve the odds of getting a good night of slumber, think about updating your bedroom. Get a new mattress if yours is uncomfortable, and invest in good pillows to support your neck. Instead of keeping your phone by your bed, have a pencil and paper on hand. This way, you can process lingering worries without using electronics. This can keep you from feeling guilty about not getting something done during the day. Lastly, you may want to increase the storage space in your room. By decreasing clutter, you could have an easier time resting at night.
Create an Exercise Regimen
Finding time to work out can be difficult with a busy schedule. Yet, it's one way to keep our moods and energy levels up, which means we need to be smart about fitness. So, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier to jog. Building a home gym is one way to ensure you can work out whenever. Take the stairs over the elevator, and park farther away than you need to — every step really does count. You can even incorporate exercise into watching television. Use commercials to do sit-ups or push-ups, and then do sets of squats during the program itself. Just a few minutes a day can impact how you feel.
Make Time for Nutrition
As with fitness, eating well can be difficult when the time is tight. However, having a nutritious breakfast can set the tone for your whole day. You can get fresh groceries or meals delivered to you, or you could bulk buy for the week on your days off. Always prepare your food immediately. Slice veggies for snacks, and wash fruit before you put it away. It's easier to do things in advance, which can make healthful diet plans more tenable. Simplify meals when you need to; start with whatever protein you have, and build meals around it. That way, you have variety and won't grab something fast on the way home.
Do What You Enjoy
No matter what, you need to do things you enjoy each week. You may not have the chance to engage in a hobby every day, but devote a little free time to do something you love. This could mean grabbing a muffin at the cafe with a loved one or working on the novel you've always wanted to write. Try to make sure you invest in activities that bring you joy.
Time may be difficult to find, but you need to look after yourself. If you do not sleep, eat, and live well, you certainly cannot take satisfactory care of others. Besides, you deserve to feel good each and every day, so remember to set aside time for you.