Caregiving with Balance: Balancing Your Responsibility and Your Life
Caregiving for elderly, relatives or friends can be difficult. You feel obligated to help this person you love and care about, and you do so out of the goodness of your heart. However, you also recognize that you have your own life: your career, family, job, health and free time is also important to you. How can you balance your caregiving responsibilities and your own health, career, and life?
Examine Your Priorities
Being overwhelmed can be something we become numb to, allowing responsibilities and hobbies to fall by the wayside over time. This presents a problem, though, as you may forget about important events or parts of your life. If you focus all of your time on one activity, are you being “productive” or just inundating yourself? If you are a caregiver, you need to learn to prioritize. List all of the things you have to do, both short-term (i.e., daily responsibilities and events) and long-term (projects, hobbies, long-term time investments). Look to put the most important events first – when you have the most time and energy – to make sure that vital things get done, like meals, medication, doctor’s appointments, and family responsibilities. Hobbies and activities that carry less importance could be placed at the bottom of your list, as you can do without these (for the time being).
Manage Your Time Management
While you may not prioritize your hobbies, downtime, and recreation, these things are vital parts of your life. Burnout is all too common, and productive downtime is an important way to avoid this. Analyze your schedule, and if you don’t have one, make one. Find creative ways to relax and further your hobbies. Cultivate habits that improve your mental state but also relax you. Make sure you give the appropriate amount of time to spouses and children and keep up a good sleep schedule to keep you well rested and alert.
Caring for your health is a vital part of your life. No matter who is relying on you, remember, you can’t help anyone if you don’t help yourself first. Take care of yourself by exercising, eating well, and handling your stress in a healthy manner. You also need to be able to converse freely with others, letting out pent-up emotions and feelings.
Open the Door To Good Communication
Communication is very important. If you feel like your disabled or elderly family member is not understanding you, sit down and have face-to-face conversations. Free conversation is important in all interpersonal relationships, and when one person relies on another, it is vital. Lay out your feelings, where you feel there are roadblocks in your relationship, and your feelings about the other person’s conduct. Ask them their opinion, and listen respectfully when they express it. Converse with other family members as well. If you are the sole caregiver, perhaps get all of your family together to discuss. There is often a way to split up responsibility, keeping one person from being overwhelmed and keeping the environment peaceful.
Caregiving is vital and can bond two people very closely. If you are a caregiver, you need to balance your life, career, and health in order to fulfill your responsibility well and attentively. Having good communication, time management, and ordered priorities will help you continue to be productive and a source of comfort for all who are relying on you.