Caregivers are often provided with tips for healthy living, yet people sometimes forget to warn them to stay away from certain habits that negatively impact their own physical and mental health. You’re more susceptible to adopting unhealthy habits when you’re already feeling drained, so keep this list of bad habits close by to refer to whenever you need motivation to stay on the right track.
1. Comparing Your Experience to Others
Other caregivers are an excellent source of support when your aging loved one lives with a chronic illness such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, you should avoid getting caught in the trap of comparing other caregivers’ lives to yours. Remember, things often look better from the other side, and this type of thinking only spurs negative feelings such as jealousy.
2. Playing the Blame Game
It’s important to let yourself off the hook once in a while. You naturally want to do everything you can to make your loved one’s life better, but you’re only one person. Avoid blaming yourself for things that are out of your control, since this only leads to frustration.
3. Indulging in Vices
As a caregiver, you’re at risk for developing an addiction. When you feel the urge to turn to alcohol or other substances to manage your feelings, view it as a sign you need help. Talk to a counselor or hire a respite caregiver to give you a break. Taking care of your mental health allows you to continue to do your best to help your loved one.
One of the best things you can for yourself and your aging loved one is reach out for assistance from a professional experienced in senior care. San Diego family caregivers can benefit from help a few hours a day or a few days a month to step away and focus on self-care.
4. Skipping Your Workout
Daily workouts keep your body healthy, and doing things such as running releases endorphins that make you feel better emotionally. Plan for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Although you may feel like sitting out your workout on the couch, you’ll feel better if you decide to push on through.
5. Putting Off Health Checkups
You need to be healthy to continue to take care of your loved one. While you may feel fine, the stress you’re under could put you at risk for injuries as well as chronic diseases such as diabetes. Never put off a yearly exam that might detect a problem early enough for you to have a good prognosis.
6. Refusing Offers of Help
You might have been raised to view accepting help as a sign of weakness or laziness. However, it’s just the opposite. Refusing other people’s offers to provide you with assistance is a bad habit that leads to burnout. Instead, write a list of simple tasks people can help you with, and be willing to take a whole day away from your duties if that’s what you need to feel refreshed.
7. Skipping Sleep
It’s tempting to stay up late or wake up early to get things done, but sleep deprivation places you at risk for costly mistakes, such as medication mix-ups, that can affect your loved one’s safety. Arrange for someone to stay with your loved one overnight if his or her nocturnal habits keep you up late, and make sure to leave room for a regular bedtime schedule.
If you see yourself engaging in any of these habits because you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities, remember you don’t have to manage everything all on your own. Although you’ve gladly chosen to take on the caregiving duties for your loved one, it may be time to enlist the help of a trusted professional caregiver. Whether they need assistance a few hours a day, a few days a week, or around-the-clock Alzheimer’s or dementia home care, San Diego families rely on the highly trained, devoted caregivers from Coast Care Partners to adhere to the highest standards of care while treating their loved ones with dignity. Reach out to one of our friendly representatives today at 619-354-2544 to discover how we can help.