Renewal means balancing personal needs and the demands of caregiving so you have time and energy for yourself. Renewal helps prevent burnout.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Go on a retreat. This could be a weekend or an afternoon where you distance yourself from caregiving and just relax.
- Set aside personal time every day for energizing activities like exercise, meditation, prayer and play. As little as five or 10 minutes spent this way can help.
- Engage in renewal activities in the midst of your caregiving responsibilities, such as deep breathing, prayer, consciously appreciating the moment or finding humor in a situation.
Keep It Simple
Conscious breathing is something you can do anywhere. Deliberately taking a breath helps you restore yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
When you are upset, your breathing is shallow, restricted and fast, but when you are calm, it is deeper, slower and more relaxed. When you practice deep, steady breathing, you can release emotional tension and calm your mind.
Try breathing consciously and deeply when you are on hold on the telephone, when things are getting tense, when sitting at a red light or standing in line.
Renew Your Commitment
- In the midst of a hectic day, it is easy to lose sight of what inspires you to be a caregiver. Remember why you do this work. Ask yourself, “Why do I do this?” Make a list of your reasons.
- Revisiting those reasons may provide just the energy you need to be a more inspired and committed caregiver. Or your answers might spark you to see the deeper reasons for working as a caregiver, or to see your role as a gift to yourself.
- Join a caregiver support group. Ask other caregivers what keeps them going.
- When things get tough, remind yourself about the contributions you make each day that improve your survivor’s quality of life.
State Your Mission
Write a mission statement for your role in life. Written mission statements identify what matters to you and keeps you focused. Write the final version on a piece of paper and place it where you will see it often: in your daily organizer or on a mirror, for example.
Next, write goals that will help you achieve your mission. Review your mission statement and goals every week. Include renewal activities in your goals.Keep a Gratitude Journal
Each day write down three to five things for which you are grateful. You’ll be making an inventory of all that you have, instead of what you don’t have. Find a convenient time to do this, like bedtime. Some people find the evening meal a good time to involve family members in this practice.
Remember, the most important thing is to energize yourself before you become depleted.
Adapted from Running on Plenty at Work: Renewal Strategies for Individuals, by Krista Kurth, Ph.D. and Suzanne Adele Schmidt, Ph.D.
This content was last reviewed on 07/31/2013.