As a caregiver have you ever wondered how you can “find your Zen” or even just an island of peace in a world in which you’re being pulled in so many directions? If you said yes, you’re not alone. Caregivers, especially those in the so-called Sandwich Generation (those working full time, caring for their own family and caring for aging loved ones), it may be difficult to find even one moment to call their own.
However, in order to remain “effective” and to stay healthy in your own life you need to take steps to find happiness and grab moments of peace. Here are some ways you may be able to incorporate into your daily routine that will help you “find your Zen” and just might keep you healthier:
- Know that you’re stressed. You need to understand the signs in yourself that indicate that you might be reaching the breaking point. Those signs could be irritability, the inability to sleep or oncentrate, reaching for high fat comfort foods rather than eating a healthy diet. Make note – whether literal or figuratively – of those times when you feel high anxiety as this will help you not only recognize them, but to take steps to relax.
- Surround yourself with friends and family who enhance your happiness. If you are with people who bring chaos to your day, it will negatively impact your well-being. There are times when you cannot escape those who cause drama, but try to limit those interactions as much as possible.
- Make your home a peaceful retreat. If you have a home that is relatively clutter-free you may find you almost instantly relax. Even if you can’t have your entire home be clutter-free you might want to carve out an area of the home that is yours and it can be the place in which you go to relax. Fill it with items you love, scents you enjoy and treat it as a haven.
- Remember you can’t do it all. Give yourself permission to reach out and ask for assistance from others. If you need help with child care or grocery shopping, talk to your friends and family to seek their assistance. They may not know how hard you’re working and won’t unless you tell them.
- Be forceful and tell friends and family “I just need some time to myself today.” You need to learn to say no to invitations or items that will add to your stress level and reduce your happiness. You don’t have to give a reason why you “don’t want to attend that party,” you can simply say, “no, thank you.”
Self-care is crucial for caregivers as they may find themselves under stress and getting ill without really understanding the root cause. It’s time to take time for yourself and your happiness!