People who provide full-time care to loved ones often find themselves struggling with depression. In fact, studies show that up to half of adult caregivers show signs of significant depression.
If you are a full-time carer of a loved one, do not be tempted to set aside your own needs. Remember, you are just about the most important person in the process! If you allow yourself to “burn out” how will you be able to care for your loved one? You may even find that it’s hard to take care of yourself.
Because constant caregiving can create high levels of stress, why not consider implementing some of the following suggestions to keep yourself well-balanced physically, mentally and emotionally:
- Monitor your physical health. Not enough sleep plus high levels of stress can easily take a toll on your health. If you find yourself getting physically or mentally weaker, make an appointment to see your doctor.
- Set aside a few hours a week for yourself and do something outside of the home. Perhaps you can organise to meet some friends for coffee or for lunch? Going shopping for yourself or simply taking a walk on your own or with a friend can be surprisingly refreshing.
- Stay in touch with others. It’s important not to allow yourself to become isolated from friends and family.
- If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and overstretched, call a trusted friend, or a counselor, and share with them how you are feeling and what you are experiencing in your role as a caregiver.
- Consider attending caregiver support group meetings in your locality. Meeting others who are in a similar situation to yourself can offer a way to relax and be encouraged in an understanding environment.