Caring for a loved one can become a full-time or even round-the-clock job. While caring for a loved one can offer a unique sense of fulfillment, it also comes with many responsibilities and may leave you feeling overwhelmed.
A common piece of advice for family caregivers is to practice self-care by taking time for themselves, going away for a short vacation or engaging in hobbies or other activities outside of the home. With the pandemic, however, public health restrictions have made it difficult, if not impossible, for this to happen for many family caregivers.
Keep reading to learn about the unique challenges of being a family caregiver during the COVID-19 pandemic and what you can do to balance self-care with supporting and protecting your loved ones.
Common Caregiving Challenges for Family Caregivers During the Pandemic
Keeping a regular sleep routine can be difficult for family caregivers under normal circumstances. If you feel that it’s gotten worse during the pandemic, you’re not alone.
Resolving sleep problems is vital for both your loved one and you because a lack of sleep may impact your health.
Do your best to maintain a routine sleep schedule and sleep for 7-9 hours each night. If this isn't an option, try to get a nap during the daytime when your loved one takes a nap. You may feel like you need to get other things done, but taking care of yourself is important too!
Lack of Privacy
Family caregivers may feel a lack of privacy in their home. It can be tough to set boundaries to get away from constant interactions or get a break to complete any chores, especially in smaller residences.
Tips for protecting your privacy include:
- Ensure that the older adult has his or her own space.
- Set household rules for everyone on for the use of the living room, kitchen and other possible areas of conflict.
A family caregiver can fall into depression or feel isolated, often even without realizing it. Throughout the day, you are juggling your caregiving duties that take so much time. It no longer lets you maintain your social connections, and that's why it is essential to seek a balance between caregiving and your own life.
Here are some essential tips for your self-care
Participate in Online Activities
While you're home and not going out during the pandemic or if you just don't have time to connect with anyone or be a part of an in-person support group, there are some great options online that can help.
You can join some community and caregiver support groups on Facebook, Quora, Reddit, and many more such platforms to share your success stories, frustrations and get answers to your questions.
With so much to do, it’s common to neglect yourself to get everything done at the right time. However, maintaining an exercise routine can be a great way to carve out some time for yourself. Just 30 minutes a day can be a great way to stay active, release some stress and improve your physical and mental health.
Pre-pandemic, working out at the gym or taking part in a sport were great alternatives, but it’s more difficult now due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, you can check out options for virtual workouts, online classes or simply go for a run or outdoor workout.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Being a family caregiver, you probably have a busy schedule and might rely on comfort foods. They may make your life a little easier but an unhealthy diet can take a toll on your health.
You should include some fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich foods as well as healthy fats such as nuts, fish, olive oils, etc in your diet.
Incorporating relaxation techniques or meditation into your daily routine can help you relieve stress and improve your well-being. A few minutes in the middle of a busy day can help you stay relaxed and calm even in this lockdown when you can't get out of your home.
It’s important to seek a balance between caregiving and your own life, even when public health restrictions make it difficult or impossible to enjoy many of the activities that family caregivers often rely on for respite and self-care. Use these tips above to continue to build self-care into your routine as you navigate life as a family caregiver during the pandemic.
Homecare remains a safe way to support family caregivers and your loved ones during the pandemic. To learn more about our home care services, contact our caregiving team today at ActivePro Nursing & Homecare Inc. on how our caregivers can support your loved ones.