As a caregiver, self-care may be the furthest thought on your mind during the holiday season. But if you’re not caring for yourself, it can become increasingly difficult to support your loved ones.
Kensington Park Senior Living held a caregiver workshop, where we explored the challenges caregivers face during the holiday season and offer solutions.
It is possible to lighten your holiday load while making time for all the things that are most important to you and your family, and we will show you how.
Read on to learn more about the event, plus tips for balancing your role as a caregiver and asking others for help.
How to balance the role of caregiving and self-care
It’s common for caregivers to focus most of their time and attention on their loved one who needs care.
But over time, they may begin to neglect their own basic needs such as adequate sleep, healthy meals, social activity, and exercise.
As a caregiver, it’s important to be able to recognize your body’s signs that you’re neglecting your needs and begin to implement strategies to balance yourself once again.
This balance can be achieved with self-care.
During our caregiver workshop, Kensington Support Coach Susie Sarkisian and our panel of family caregivers shared their advice on slowing down to savor the holiday season with your loved one.
Ways to incorporate methods of stress relief and self-care into your busy routine
In our community, we encourage stress relief and self-care for our residents as part of our whole-person wellness approach.
Take a look at our services as an example of how you can incorporate these aspects of emotional, spiritual, and social wellness into your own life:
- Music therapy
- Arts and crafts
- Massage therapy
- Manicure or pedicure
- Regularly scheduled hair treatments
It’s important to re-discover what you enjoy doing and find ways to incorporate that into your daily routine.
Remember, self-care and stress relief also may be as simple as eating three meals a day, taking regular walks, or even taking a short nap every day.
You may need to start small, and gradually make more time in your day. If you can’t find the time for basic self-care, you may need to start asking others for help.
When to ask for help caregiving—and not be afraid doing it
At our caregiver workshop, you will find the support you need to ask for help and take the time you need for yourself.
If you can’t set aside even 15 minutes in your day for yourself, you probably are stretching yourself too thin.
It can be difficult to ask for help for many reasons. Perhaps you are putting unreasonable pressure on yourself as a caregiver, or not realizing how stressed you have become.
You can begin to ask for help by writing out your full list of responsibilities, and taking an honest look at the tasks you must take care of yourself, and the tasks that are reasonable to ask another person to do.
For example, can your brother plan a weekly in-person or virtual visit? Can your sister pick up groceries every other week?
You may be surprised to see how willing others are to help once you open yourself up to it.
When caregiving becomes too much: The signs and symptoms of burnout
Caregivers who don’t make time to address their basic needs are at risk of developing caregiver burnout.
Caregiver burnout is a state of exhaustion caused by long-term stress.
- Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion
- Getting too much or not enough sleep
- Eating too much or not enough
- Becoming fast to anger or irritation
- Losing interest in activities you once loved
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Experiencing headaches or other physical pain
If you experience any of the symptoms of caregiver burnout, it’s time to implement some self-care.
The Kensington Park Senior Living team wants you to know that you are not alone.
We’re here for you, and ready to offer you the support and resources you need to properly care for yourself and your loved one.
If you ever feel guilty for taking care of yourself, remember this: You can’t be the best version of yourself for your loved one if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Your self-care benefits them, too!
How Kensington Park Senior Living devotes care to benefit both seniors and their family caregivers
At Kensington Park Senior Living, Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.
We understand the challenges you face during the holidays and every day as you navigate your family dynamics and the decisions you must make for your loved one’s care.
That’s why we offer numerous caregiver support events, including a recurring Caregiver Connect event.
Whether you’re still in a lead caregiver role or making the challenging decision to move your loved one to our assisted living community, the Kensington Park team is happy to help.
Kensington Park Senior Living: Your partner in caregiving
Kensington Park is the realization of a vision of passionate leaders in the senior living industry who wanted to develop a community that takes the assisted living model of care to a higher level.
Our community is staffed by loving professionals who help us carry out this vision every day in a comfortable, elegant environment.
Our Values are simple, yet a powerful reminder of our dedication to our community:
- Love for seniors
- Respect for each other
- Passion for excellence
- Spirit to serve
We offer a full spectrum of clinical support to our residents, so no matter how their care needs change over time they have a home with us.
Reach out to us today to learn more about the event, our community, and all the ways we can support you as you travel on your caregiver journey.