Family caregivers serve a myriad of roles for the loved one they care for and because of this are especially susceptible to burnout. Mindfulness can be an effective way to combat everyday stressors and elevate the care you provide a loved one.
Take a few minutes each morning to set your intentions for the day. Think mindfully about how you want to engage with your obligations. What are your priorities? What do you need to do to take care of yourself so that you can be a present and attentive caregiver? Put your intentions into practice by incorporating these mindfulness techniques for caregivers into your day:
1. Breathe Deeply
Mindfulness is a skill everyone can cultivate to improve focus, productivity and overall well-being. At the end of each day or week, reflect on how well you used mindfulness to achieve your goals and what you can do better tomorrow. Making time for yourself will keep you grounded and peaceful while allowing you to be of service to those around you.
2. Keep a Gratitude Journal
It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the struggles you’re facing as a caregiver. Take a moment to remember what is going well in your life and write it down. The items on this list don’t have to be large. They can be as simple as the hummingbird you saw in your garden, the fact that Mom decided to take a nap, or that your partner picked up the groceries.
3. Stay Social
Isolation is another major cause of depression and burnout in caregivers. Be mindful of the connections you cultivate. Spend time with friends and family who can lift you up when you’re feeling down. A quick phone call or text can provide much-needed emotional support.
4. Find Respite
Make a list of your favorite self-care activities. Would going for a run clear your head and make you more prepared to take on the challenges of the day? Maybe taking a bubble bath would calm you so you can be fully present with your loved one later that night? Ask friends and family to watch your loved one for a few hours or hire a professional caregiver to come in a few times a week so you can find the time to fit these activities in.
5. Be in the Moment
Instead of constantly running through a mental to-do list, focus on the task at hand. Make sure to focus on your care partner fully when you are with them. This might cause you to notice something new that has been irritating your loved one recently or find a new way to connect with them.
If you aren’t sure how to make this time for yourself with all the demands of caregiving, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Home Care Assistance provides customized care to older adults so they can live happier, healthier lives at home. They champion the needs of seniors with a positive, empowering approach to aging that celebrates independence, dignity and quality of life. HCA caregivers receive exceptional training, support and resources to deliver an unmatched care experience to your loved one.