3 Self-Care Strategies to Prevent Caregiver Burnout

June 15, 2022 | Caregiving
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When it comes to providing care for an older adult, caregivers often put the other person’s needs ahead of their own. This is a common and natural response to caregiving – our attention is focused on the needs of another person, and our purpose is to meet those needs and provide the highest standard of comfort and care.

Unfortunately, this mindset can become detrimental if caregivers do not remember to take care of themselves. When we focus exclusively on the needs of others but neglect our own needs, we increase the risk of stress, anxiety, health issues and burnout. And when this happens, it becomes impossible to provide adequate care for others. 

At Astral at Auburn, we support our caregivers in an environment that encourages self-care strategies. We understand the unique challenges that caregivers face – and how damaging it can be when they do not practice self-care.

Below, we look at some of the best self-care strategies to help you overcome stress and prevent caregiver burnout. By practicing these strategies, you can ensure that your health remains strong, your emotional energy is in alignment, and you are in the best position to provide care and support to the people who need you.

1. Rest, Rest and More Rest

One of the most important ways you can prevent caregiver burnout is to rest when you need it. Unfortunately, adequate rest is one of the most overlooked aspects of self-care. 

In today’s world, we often look at sleep as a luxury – something that can be squeezed into the schedule only after every other task has been accomplished. However, sleep is an essential part of health. Without adequate rest, we increase our risk of heart disease, stroke, anxiety, stress and depression. 

Not getting enough sleep can alter our cognitive function, making it more difficult to make creative or critical decisions. This can dramatically impact the quality of care we provide for others. Also, not sleeping enough can turn into a vicious cycle in which we become more and more tired with each passing day.

The first step to getting better sleep is to allow yourself to rest. Sleep should not be seen as a luxury but as a necessary part of your health plan – and it should be scheduled accordingly. Just as you would not allow the person you are caring for to give up sleep, you must prioritize rest in your own life.

Here are some of the best ways to relax and unwind:

  • Meditation for 15 minutes (or more)
  • Take a long, warm bath
  • Turn off all screens at least one hour before bedtime
  • Transform your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary – remove any unnecessary items and clutter
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before sleep
  • Leave your phone outside of your bedroom

By making rest a dedicated part of your health plan, you will be able to provide better care for others.

2. Make Time for Exercise

Although it may seem counterintuitive to exercise when you feel tired, adding a fitness routine to your daily schedule can help increase your energy levels, reduce stress and keep you feeling healthy.

You do not need to exercise for hours each day to feel the positive effects. If you commit to moderate exercise for 15-30 minutes each day, you will notice an immediate difference in your energy levels and mood. To begin, here are a few ways to make exercise part of your daily plan:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Yoga classes
  • Strength training exercises
  • Light stretching and flexibility

Exercise not only directly impacts your body and mind but can help regulate your diet and sleep. 

3. Do What You Love

As a caregiver, you likely encourage the person you care for to participate in activities that give them purpose and joy, and it’s equally important you do the same for yourself.

Another way to relieve stress and prevent caregiver burnout is by making time to do the things you love. Whether playing sports, painting, creating music or art, or socializing with a close group of friends, prioritize these activities.

By reaching out to others – or connecting with the activities you love – you can recharge your energy and renew your own sense of personal achievement and happiness.

Astral at Auburn is committed to supporting our expert care specialists while providing first-class care to residents. We believe that a senior living community should be inviting and kind to residents, as well as those who work there.

Visit our website today to learn more about our assisted living and memory care community in Auburn, Indiana.

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