The end of the year is always an opportune time to pause and reflect on how to make positive changes in one’s life. That said, family caregivers can also use New Year’s resolutions to plan for the upcoming year and strategize how to stay refreshed as the trying day’s transition into weeks and months. However, coming up with New Year’s goals to make that happen isn’t always as easy as it sounds. If you’re having trouble getting started, here are five resolutions that family caregivers should include on their list.
I Resolve to Recognize Caregiver Fatigue
Every overstressed and overworked caregiver needs to recognize these fatigue warning signs:
- Anxiety, depression, and irritability
- Feeling tired and run down all the time
- Difficulty sleeping
- Overreacting to minor annoyances
- New or worsening health problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling increasingly resentful
- Drinking alcohol, smoking, or eating more
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
If you don’t make positive changes, caregiving fatigue can easily transition into full-blown caregiver burnout. Once that happens, your health and well-being – and that of your care recipient – could be at serious risk.
I Resolve to Set Realistic Goals
In general, caregivers are selfless, giving people. As a result, many hold onto unhealthy emotions like worry, resentment, and guilt because they never feel like they are doing enough. This year don’t allow yourself to be haunted by negative feelings resulting from unrealistic expectations.
When the guilt and frustration are caused by something outside your control, do your best to confront those emotions and kick them to the curb. The more you can identify your feelings in the present, the better you’ll be at letting go of things you cannot control.
I Resolve to Avoid Unhealthy Habits
Because informal caregivers are so giving, they often neglect their physical, mental, and emotional needs. Clinical depression affects roughly half of all family caregivers, with many experiencing physical consequences as a result.
With that in mind, focus more on yourself this year by exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, not abusing alcohol, and getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day. If you haven’t had one for a while, also be sure to schedule a complete health screening with your primary care doctor.
I Resolve to Not Neglect Personal Relationships
It’s common for family caregivers to become socially isolated without even realizing they’ve walled themselves off. The demands of caregiving can make it nearly impossible to seek out social connections that human beings value so much. A lack of socialization can jeopardize close relationships and put you at higher risk for depression, heart disease, and stroke.
Resolve this year to get out more and connect with family and friends. For instance, schedule recurring lunch dates with some of your favorite people or a weekend getaway with your significant other.
I Resolve to Take Time Off When Needed
This last resolution is often much easier said than done. As a family caregiver, there probably aren’t too many people who can care for your loved one the way you can. However, looking after your own mental and physical health needs to be an integral part of your caregiving duties. This year, resolve to ask for help whenever you feel caregiver fatigue begin to set in.
Even if it’s only for a few hours, sources of caregiver relief – or “respite” – include family members, friends, and volunteers. You can also seek outside assistance through a paratransit service, adult daycare center, or professional in-home respite caregiver. Whatever you do, resolve not to go it alone this year when the quality of life of you and your loved one depends on it!
Reliable In-Home Respite Care for Families in Naples, FL
When it’s time to take a well-deserved break, put your mind at ease by contacting the caring professionals from Home Instead® Senior Care. Conveniently available in Naples, Fort Myers, and Charlotte County, FL, our senior care services help to enhance the aging experience by providing practical support at home delivered with a human touch.
Our reliable in-home solutions help aging adults stay engaged in everyday life with tailor-made support to stay safe and well at home. At Home Instead, it is always our mission to provide a care plan personalized to your family’s needs – bringing you all comfort, companionship, and peace of mind. To learn more or schedule a time to talk with one of our home care specialists, please visit us at www.homeinsteadswfl.com.