Being a caregiver to a loved one can enrich your life in unexpected ways while remaining physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. It often involves a delicate balance of time, money, and other responsibilities. While finding this balance can take time and patience, the rewards of doing so can be well worth it. By taking the time to learn to protect the other relationships in your life, juggle job pressures and demands, and look after your own personal needs while being a caregiver, you are much more likely to find joy in the process and avoid caregiver burnout.
How to Balance Caregiving and Family Relationships
Before you took on the role of a caregiver you probably already had to juggle the demands of many important personal relationships. Spouses, children, brothers and sisters, and parents all need and supply love and attention. Once you become a caregiver, however, it can be easy to put these other relationships on the back burner so that you can focus your attention on the loved one whose needs demand constant attention. Unfortunately, by so doing, you are alienating yourself from your greatest sources of strength and balance.
Time and communication is often the key. Even if you feel like you are being pulled in a million different directions, it is essential that you find people to step in and take your place as caregiver once in a while so that you can spend time strengthening the other relationships in your life. Go on dates with your spouse, spend one-on-one time with children, and get together with extended family. While you are doing so, talk openly about your feelings and listen as they express their own feelings and frustrations. Working together is the best way to find that precious balance where they continue to feel loved and important in your life and you have the support and strength that you need.
How to Balance Caregiving and Work
More caregivers are employed than not. Finding a balance between your responsibilities as an employee and you role as a caregiver can seem impossible. The first step in finding this balance is to create a workable schedule and routine that incorporates outside help for caregiver duties while you are at work or seeing to personal demands. Once you understand what your time constraints will be, you can brainstorm ways in which you can take care of your caregiving responsibilities while remaining a productive and valuable employee.
Next, speak with your boss about your ideas and find out if your job will be flexible with your overloaded schedule. Work together to come up with a solution that you can both be happy about. Remember to remain positive and stress the positive outcomes that may result from following your new plan while being realistic about what you can do. If your employer cannot accommodate any changes to your schedule or workload, it may be time to look into other possibilities like medical leave options, taking time off, or even finding another job with less demanding hours.
How to Balance Caregiving and Personal Needs
It is also all too common that caregivers completely lose themselves in their role and forget to take care of their own personal needs. Physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual needs can be neglected creating stress, unhappiness, and illness. To be a successful caregiver, it is essential that you don’t forget to take care of yourself so that you can have the strength and resiliency to take care of your loved one. Carve out a block of time everyday to concentrate on your own health and well being and the one you are caring for will benefit as well.
Maintain you physical stamina by exercising, eating well, and getting the sleep that you need. Preserve your emotional strength by maintaining important personal relationships and finding a support network of people to help you in your life and your duties. Find or create the time to spend a moment or two by yourself everyday meditating, doing yoga, praying, or reading a book. Most importantly, don’t be afraid or feel guilty about asking for help. The demands of being a caregiver can simply be more than one person can handle. By finding other people to step in and carry some of the load you are providing loving enrichment for the one you are caring for, giving others the enriching opportunity to participate in their care, and protecting your own health and wellbeing.
Being a caregiver can be an overwhelmingly demanding responsibility. On the other hand, the joys that can come can be beautiful and enriching. The secret to successful caregiving is finding that balance between your role as a caregiver and all of the other relationships and responsibilities in your life. By taking the time to do so, however, it is possible to create lives full of meaning, joy, and purpose for you and the ones you love the most.
Written by Lauren Hill, a freelance write who enjoys topics such as health care and caregiving. For more information about caring for someone visit Liftcaregiving.com