Maintaining a positive attitude as a family caregiver can be difficult, especially when the role becomes overwhelming. Staying optimistic can help family caregivers cope, reduce stress and make it easier to get through the tough days.
Here are some tips we often provide to our FirstLight Home Care caregivers to help them keep their amazing, positive attitudes. These may also help you – the family caregiver – to remain
confident, hopeful, and encouraged when it comes to your own personal caregiving responsibilities.
Learn healthy ways to manage your stress: Stress happens when you believe the demands placed on you – anything from work to family to caregiving – exceed your ability to cope. Managing your stress can make a world of difference. Taking breaks, exercising, getting together with friends and asking for help are simple ways you can reduce your stress level and maintain your positive attitude.
Eat right and get plenty of rest: Your diet and nutrition choices can make your stress levels go up or down. Certain foods, like spinach, salmon, blueberries, and almonds provide comfort and increase levels of hormones in the body that naturally fight stress. Pre-plan and prepare your meals in advance to avoid stressing over what to make for dinner and to avoid filling up on fast food.
Sleep and mood are closely connected. Poor or inadequate sleep can cause irritability and tension. Make sleep a priority for you and the family members in your care. Start early in the evening by turning off distractions such as the television, computer, and mobile devices. You also can dim the lights to get everyone relaxed and ready for bedtime.
Exercise: Carve out time each day – even if it’s just 30 minutes to an hour – to walk around the neighborhood, hike in the park, do yoga at a local gym or whatever physical activity you enjoy. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Plus, exercising can support weight loss and improve your ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
Laugh: Find the joy and humor in your daily life. Laughter is known to decrease stress hormones and increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which can promote an overall sense of well-being.
Find time to relax: Caregiving for a family member can be a 24/7 job, so finding time during a typical week for guilt-free relaxation is important. You will be a better caregiver if you can take a step away from caring for someone else so that you can care for yourself for a while. Ask other family members to step in and help, even if it’s for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon.
If that is not possible, find a solution like FirstLight Home Care to help support you. We provide in-home care services such as companion care, personal care, and respite care. We deliver the personalized care services and elder care solutions at home or any setting for a couple of hours, an entire day, or even longer-term if needed to support your family member and you.
What tips and suggestions do you have to help a family caregiver maintain a positive attitude? Comment below or join the conversation on Facebook.
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