Caregiver burnout is a very real thing. Being a Caregiver is a role that is not always a choice. Many people become caregivers due to a spouse with a diagnosis, an aging parent, or a child with disabilities. Caregiver burnout can come in multiple forms, mental, physical, and financial. Caregivers can experience fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
How does one fall into Caregiver fatigue?
Ignoring your needs
Not asking for help
Feeling guilty for taking “me time.”
Holding resentment toward your situation
Focusing on your lack of control of the situation
Holding on to expectations about the way things “should be”
Many techniques can prevent or lessen Caregiver burnout. Practicing mindfulness is a great healing tool for your body and your mind. Living in a constant state of stress will create disease in your own body. Finding ways to change your mindset can give you more joy. Joy brings healing, happiness, and improved resilience to stress. Here are some mindfulness techniques that help manage your stress.
Practice Gratitude: It may be challenging to find things to be thankful for, but studies show that taking the time to feel gratitude may improve your emotional well-being by helping you cope with stress and build resilience. Other studies show that gratitude can reduce feelings of envy, resentment, frustration, and regret. The first step in practicing gratitude is focusing on the good things that have happened to you and your life. Writing in a gratitude journal is a great way to store your moments. When times are tough and you feel low, you can pick up your journal and remind yourself how grateful you are.
2. Meditate: Meditation is like exercise for the brain. It builds resilience to stressful situations. There is a common misconception that meditation clears the mind. Meditation brings your focus back from your thoughts to the present moment. We spend many of our days living in our thoughts of the what if’s in life. Meditation is about focusing on the here and now, on purpose. How do you add one more thing to your day? Meditation can be done in as little as one to two minutes. Here are a few easy ways to meditate.
Focus on your breath. Close your eyes and notice how your breath feels in your body. If your mind starts to drift, bring it back to the breath.
Guided meditation. I have attached a quick meditation to this blog. Just sit back and listen. You can also find many meditations to follow on youtube.
3. Mindful walk: A mindful walk can benefit your body and mind. The difference between a walk and a mindful walk is your attention. Instead of allowing your mind to wander, focus on things around you. Notice the flower colors, change leaves, or choose a color and find all the things that share that color: the green car or green mailbox.
Practicing mindfulness is exactly that, a practice. You must add it to your daily practice. Just like exercise, you can not build resilience without consistency. You can not perfect mindfulness. It is about being present with yourself and your loved ones. It is about loving yourself exactly as you are. It is about changing your focus to things you can change, like your mindset! Start small, 30 seconds at a time, and slowly increase your time.