May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
As a caregiver, we realize that the responsibility can be tasking on your mental health.
It is therefore important that you take care of yourself as a caregiver.
Over the last year or so, we have written several posts on this blog to help caregivers thrive in their role.
Self-care is important to your mental health.
Here is how you can take care of your mental health during this period of awareness.
Mental Health Awareness Month-tips for thriving as a caregiver
When you are overwhelmed, acknowledge it.
Our culture has come to expect caregivers to be stoic and emotionally unbreakable in their roles.
This is an unhealthy expectation.
As a caregiver, you have to realize that you are a human being.
Indeed, you are a special human being, because taking care of an elderly loved one and all the responsibility that comes with it, is no ride in the park.
However, pretending you are not overwhelmed when you are is a set-up for massive failure.
Admit that you are overwhelmed and tired.
Find somebody to talk about what you are feeling.
Let that person-preferably a mental health professional-help you work through those emotions.
Find out from your employers if they have mental health resources for you
If you work in the corporate world, find out if your workplace offers mental health services.
These services maybe discounted or even included in your benefits as a perk.
If your workplace doesn’t have this, you can find out if your work insurance will cover visits to see a mental health professional.
Look within your local community for mental health resources
Several cities around the United States have local mental health services.
Look them up and use the services where it suits your needs.
Take a break
When you need a break, you need a break.
This is where hiring a professional caregiving service like what we provide at Green Tree Home Care becomes essential.
Don’t do this alone.
An alternative would be to ask friends and other family members if they could give you some help for an hour or two during the course of the week.
This break will help you relax and regroup so you can be a better caregiver.
Get enough sleep
Sleep affects your mental health immensely.
If you are not getting enough sleep, chances are that you are building up stress.
Stress is notorious for being the root cause of both mental health and physical illnesses like heart disease and high blood pressure.
One of the best ways to relieve stress in your life is to get as much sleep as possible.
This might mean getting rid of the television or even going to bed early.
Join support groups for caregivers
Sometimes, knowing that there are other people going through the same experiences is therapeutic.
Find out if your area or an association you belong to (e.g. church) has support groups for caregivers and participate in them.
Release tension by having fun
Caregiving is usually serious business and most people would not find the “fun” in it.
Sometimes, a change in perspective could help to inject some fun into the experience.
And can we all agree that having fun is the best stress-reliever of all time?
Taking excellent care of your mental health put you in a better position to provide excellent care.