|Connect with other caregivers through online communities.|
1. Take time to de-stress daily. Practice yoga or meditation, take a walk or bicycle ride, listen to relaxing music, or simply unplug and enjoy silence with a free mind. Learn strategies to relieve stress in the moment, such as deep breathing, mindful meditation, or simply removing yourself from the situation for a short time.
2. Stay social. There’s no better way to lift one’s spirits than by sharing a laugh face to face with someone who cares, whether it’s through friendship, church, social clubs or civic organizations. Fortunately, technology makes it possible to also connect with other caregivers through online communities such as blogs (like the one you’re reading now!), Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, forums, and even YouTube.
3. Write in a journal to sort through your thoughts and feelings. This is especially helpful for caregivers who have trouble sleeping, since it can be therapeutic to write down worries and concerns, then put them away and rest with a clear mind.
4. Take care of your own physical needs. Eat nutritious meals at regular times throughout the day to keep up your energy, and try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. Aim for an average of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, and stay strong by keeping up with your own health care, such as doctor, dentist and therapy appointments.
5. Maintain balance. It’s important caregivers take the time to pursue their own work and activities they enjoy. Sometimes this involves giving yourself a break. Enlist the help of family members when needed, and look into services that can help ease your caregiving burden. For example, reduce the time you spend grocery shopping and preparing meals through services like Mom’s Meals or doorstep delivery of incontinence products.
6. Hire professional help as needed. If an elderly loved one needs in-home care, respite care, personal care or companionship, there are services that can help. Visiting Angels is a national, private-duty network that provides nonmedical senior care.
7. Arm yourself with knowledge. Knowledge is a great tool for caregivers, from learning about a loved one’s disease to being able to prepare for physical and emotional changes. Visit our Caregiver Resource Library, which includes more than 1,500 links to local and national health, financial, legal, and other resources.
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