As a caregiver, the demands can take a toll on you. That’s why renewal is critical. It allows you to have time and energy for yourself — and helps prevent burnout.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Go on a retreat. This could be a weekend or an afternoon when you distance yourself from caregiving and just relax.
- Set aside personal time every day. Energize yourself with exercise, meditation, prayer and play. As little as five or 10 minutes can help.
- Breathe. Deliberately taking a breath helps you restore physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When you’re upset, your breathing is shallow, restricted and fast. But when you’re calm, it’s 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:
- Wait on the telephone.
- Get tense.
- Sit at a red light.
- Stand in line.
- Renew your commitment. In the middle of a bad day, it’s easy to lose sight of what inspires you to be a caregiver. So 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.
- Write your mission statement. A written mission statement helps you 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; for example, in your daily organizer or on a mirror. Next, come up with goals that will help you achieve your mission. Review your mission statement and goals every week. Include renewal activities in your goal.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Each day write down three to five things for which you’re 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 because it involves family members.
Whatever you do, remember renewal helps you energize and prevents you from becoming depleted