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The number of caregivers in the United States has increased dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with 53 million caregivers nationwide now support relatives. While it’s good to know that people in need of care are getting the right help, more than 20% of carers say they are struggling with mental health.

Whether you are carer yourself or know someone, having certain habits can go a long way. So, before caregiver burnout becomes a pandemic, try these 15 proven methods to refill your cup.

Habits of happy caregivers

1. Your Amplifier self care regimen

During your care, it is helpful to increase your self-care practices to keep yourself healthy. Based on Kathy J. Baker, LIMHP, CPC, “Caring for a sick or injured loved one is an emotional job — and in some cases a traumatic one — as well as a physical challenge.

“Taking care of yourself starts with healthy sleep hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular exercise. Even if you can only work out for 5 minutes, it’s important that you move your body in ways that you find beneficial (versus exertion as part of a caring “work”). ”

2. Speak out

Frustration, anxiety, lack of confidence and fear are all normal emotions associated with caregiving. When these feelings arise, it’s important to find a way to express them safely. “Ask for help when you need it, and accept it,” says Baker.

“It is completely normal to feel and express the negative emotions that come with a role — with a therapist or a trusted friend or family member outside the situation. ”

3. Write over it

Research shows that journaling is a useful tool for reducing worry and Depression—Especially when you use it to express your feelings. “Through journaling, you can process your emotions, determine if you are experiencing changes in mood or outlook, reflect on your journey, identify needs,” explains Baker. , set intentions and practice gratitude.

4. Remember what you love

Just because you’re helping someone else doesn’t mean you have to give it all life on the afterburner. “Make time for your own interesting events and hobbies, humour, massages, meditation, yoga, spiritual practices, and mental health therapy are also healthy, life-enhancing means of getting the support and healing you deserve,” says Baker.

Related: 50 quotes about family caregivers

5. Delete your calendar

Gauri Khurana, MD, MPH, suggests drawing a clear line between work and vacation. “Always plan to go away for a few days every two months, or a real vacation every two to three months, because taking care of others is incredibly stressful. Being in a whole new environment can help reset you. ”

To make sure you’re making the most of your leave, let planner at home. “Block entire days on your calendar without a plan. Not even to run errands. See where a day will take you and what you feel like doing.”

6. Prioritize (and minimize) to-dos

The need to be cared for can make it hard to keep up with all your other to-dos. Instead of trying to get everything done, pick and choose what you’ve committed to, and ignore the rest. “Be aware of how much you have on your plate. You will likely need to let the other area(s) of your life pass temporarily, to be present in mind and body,” says Baker. “Caring is hard but rewarding work.”

7. Focus on personal strengths

If you find yourself focusing solely on the needs of others, documenting your skills and strengths can help you remember your identity as an individual, not just a caregiver. . ONE research published in the journal Health Psychology demonstrated that interventions that focused on positive emotions helped caregivers feel happier about their role. Focusing on personal strengths is a proven tactic to stay positive in such situations.

8. Identify and reframe stressors

The same study that demonstrated the importance of focusing on positive strengths shows the value of curbing stressors. Specifically, jot down one thing that gave you a hard time during the day. Then see how it can be evaluated positively or reframed in a more positive direction. This is another practice that can become a habit the more it is practiced.

Related: How carers can benefit from Telehealth

9. Find a support group

Sheila Marie Tyson, an artist who used to be her late husband’s carer, suggests seeking out support groups. “They can often help with proposals you’ve overlooked,” she says. In addition, finding groups that specialize in your area of ​​care (such as those who are helping people with similar conditions) can be especially effective.

10. Feel your emotions

It’s tempting to try to be the rock to the person you’re helping, but suppressing your emotions can make things harder. Instead, Tyson recommends taking time for yourself to really feel your emotions, rather than repressing them. “Walk on the beach and cry. Let go of everything.” Find a healing place where you can be alone, and go there to let your emotions flow.

11. Find out your limits

You may want to get quick help anytime you need help. But Baker explains that it helps if you know your limits and know your role in the situation. “Don’t try to be ‘everything’ to the individual,” she says. “Accept that some days you have more to give than others.”

12. Awareness of mindfulness

Mindfulness is the act of cultivating being present, aware, and appreciative of the present moment, and it has been shown to improve quality of life for caregivers. Especially, research shows that often attention Exercise can reduce depression and anxiety while enhancing self-efficacy.

13. Practice Gratitude

One of the simplest ways to change your mindset is to think about what’s going well in your life. “Gratitude has a powerful effect on how one looks. By naming 3 things you’re grateful for each day, you’ll be reminded of the rewards of caring,” explains Baker. Try to make this a habit and you may find yourself happier every day – despite the challenges.

Related: Giuliana and Bill Rancic on Cancer Care

14. Appreciate Appreciation

Feeling appreciated is essential to experiencing joy as a caregiver, especially if you are there for an extended period of time. In fact, one research Spousal caregivers show that caregivers are much happier – and less likely to report physical pain – when they feel valued. If the person you are caring for is incapable of asserting appreciation, consider finding ways to appreciate yourself or asking other loved ones to appreciate.

15. Celebrate your role

Caring is certainly tough, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Research shows that caregivers who focus on the beneficial aspects of their role are happier and more active towards their responsibilities. Specifically, cultivating a more positive view of caregiving was strongly associated with higher life satisfaction — even as burdens increased.

Next: 30 Best Self-Care Ideas The Happiest Caregivers Swear These 15 Habits

Caroline Bleakley

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