Taking Care of the Caregivers During COVID-19
A caregiver’s responsibility is demanding and difficult under normal circumstances, but COVID-19 has added a level of stress making caregiving an even more difficult role. COVID-19 has turned some individuals into caregivers overnight. For those who have been involved with providing caregiving services for some time, the current effect of COVID-19 has added a whole new element of concern.
Caregiving burnout is now having significant implications. If you’re able to have added support from other family members or friends that’s great, but not everyone is that fortunate. Even those who have that added caregiving back-up are experiencing burnout.
Signs of Caregiver Burnout
Caregiver burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion. Caregivers who are stressed may experience fatigue, anxiety and depression. Those caregivers are now being tasked with taking care of household duties, keeping food and household supplies readily stocked, all while now being forced into social distancing with family, neighbors and friends.
Making Life Easier For Caregivers
If you are the main caregiver in your home, or if you know of others handling caregiving responsibilities alone, what can you do to make life a little brighter for you and them? Here’s a list of helpful activities that can help to reduce stress and help you feel rejuvenated.
– Taking a walk is a simple activity that can work wonders. Walking helps to lower stress levels and can uplift your mood. Walking has also been shown to have a positive effect on reducing the risk of diabetes and cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and keep you mentally sharp. Ask a family member or friend to take over for a few minutes, step outside and take some deep breaths.
– Take time to meditate. Despite common beliefs, meditating doesn’t mean you have to empty your mind of all relative thoughts, it’s the simple act of letting thoughts flow freely throughout your mind without making judgements or acting on them. You need only to find a quiet place where you can allow your mind to focus on your thoughts.
– Read an article or book, reading is a great way to divert your mind and reduce stressful thoughts. Reading stimulates your mental health, whether you prefer light reading, or opt for something more a bit heavier.
– Watch a favorite TV show to help you unwind and relax. Do this with your loved one you’re caring for and select programs that may be uplifting for the both of you. This could be a perfect time to binge watch multi series shows and will help to make the day go by.
– Spend some time creating arts and crafts, art has a healing and therapeutic advantage on the mind. Sketching is a great way to express yourself and there is no right or wrong method of sketching, it simply increases feelings of pleasure and happiness while reducing anxiety and caregiver burnout.
– Writing down your feelings is also a proven way to unwind for many people, it’s a form of expression and a way to share your feelings and thoughts. Create a daily account of your caregiving thoughts and impressions to help you better serve and care for the loved one you are caring for, as well as for yourself.
– Overwhelmed caregivers may feel distant from family or friends, this is a great time to talk to your friends and family to share your feelings. You may feel others won’t understand what you’re going through, or you may feel guilty for sharing your true emotions. Caregivers sometime get lost in their own world and they sometime lose touch with friendships that have been very important to them. Friends can help serve to pick up your spirits and give you a different perspective to help you through this difficult time.
In order to be an effective caregiver, especially during these trying COVID-19 times, one must first make sure to focus on their own well being in order to negotiate the critical care and responsibilities needed to fulfill their caregiving duties.