Caregiver burnout is real. You're stressed, tired, and need a break! But how do you do this on a daily basis? What if you don't have the time? Each person and situation is different, but incorporating small moments of joy into our lives can help ease some of the caregiver stress. Caregivers work hard, and you deserve it.
1. Call a Friend
Sometimes reaching out for help is hard, but it can be the best thing we do for ourselves. Telling someone about your struggles or what's going on in your day can help take a huge weight off your shoulders. Go ahead- talk it out!
2. Shop at Your Favorite Store
For some, shopping at a specific store can make a shopping trip more enjoyable. So if you have a choice, drive the extra 2 miles to shop at a store that brings you joy.
3. Wash Your Hair With a Nice Shampoo
Buy shampoo that you wouldn't use every day, but would use for special occasions. Have a favorite shampoo that smells like mint and pure happiness? Use it. Your nose will thank you when you keep getting those hints of bliss!
4. Listen to Music
Make a playlist that brings back "the good ol' days." Listening to music you grew up with can bring back positive memories and make you happy.
5. Give Yourself a Moisturizing Facial Mask
It's just a nice thing to do.
6. Buy Something Online That's Just for You
Socks, sunglasses or coffee cups. Just buy something that makes you happy. Waiting on the package can also bring excitement!
7. Start an Herb Garden
Don't start a huge, time-consuming project, unless that's your thing, of course! Instead, buy a small cilantro or basil plant to keep on the porch. Enjoy watching it grow, and as a bonus, you get to use the herbs for cooking your favorite foods such as tacos or pizza!
8. Drink Your Coffee Outside or in the Sun
If you spend the majority of your time inside, this can have a negative effect on your health. For five minutes each day, sip your coffee on the porch, or if it's too cold, stand next to the window. Five minutes each day can make a world of difference.
9. Watch a Comedy
Watching your favorite TV show might be a way to relax and escape, but mix it up a bit! If your favorite show is a crime drama, it might help to add something funny to the mix.
10. Use a Towel Warmer
It's the little things in life. Towel warmers can be unplugged when not in use, eliminating the worry of your loved one burning themselves. Plus, a nice warm towel after showering is one of the little ways you can live a life of luxury!
11. Stretch and Use a Foam Roller
If your goal is to touch your toes or do a left leg split, stretching can help you feel better physically. A foam roller helps with muscle aches and pains, and also helps with mobility.
12. Candle Warmer
Candles can be dangerous to your loved one who might accidentally push it over or hurt themselves. Try a candle warmer! Candle warmers can be placed on top of a high surface where it's not seen, but both you and your loved one can still enjoy the fragrance.
13. Look at Old Photos
Looking at photos can also be a great activity to do with your loved one. Looking at old wedding photos, or photos of you both 20 years younger can bring out joy and laughter, along with some great stories.
14. Start a Gratitude Journal
Write one thing or 100 things a day, and look at it every night. You will be surprised how retraining your brain to be thankful can help when faced with so much pain, stress, and hopelessness every day.
15. Take the Day Off
Taking time for yourself can be hard to do, but make it happen. You can't take care of someone else if you're not taking care of yourself. Hire a caregiving agency, or find other local resources that can help you take time off. You can always contact your local Office on Aging to see what's available in your area.
We hope you found something useful in our list, and remember: self-care and avoiding caregiver burnout is the most important part of being a caregiver. You work hard, and you deserve a break.