6 Ways to Make Your Caregiving Duties Enjoyable
Taking care of an aging loved one can be an exhausting, stressful, and time-consuming undertaking. There may come a point when you realize you are no longer the happy and motivated person you once were. If this sounds like your situation, it is time to take a fresh look at some tips that can help you regain your optimism and happiness.
1. Focus On Positive Relationships
One of the most common obstacles family caregivers face is maintaining healthy relationships. Over the years, some of the friends and family members you used to rely on might slowly drift out of your life. Going out of your way to strengthen and nurture those relationships could give you a fresh perspective on why you are caring for a loved one in the first place.
2. Embrace The Role Early On
Even if a sudden illness or injury thrusts these caregiving duties on you a little bit earlier than you expected, you will most likely have at least some warning. Accepting the role of caregiver early on will give you time to process all of your emotions. Preparing for this role a few years in advance may lower your stress levels and increase your overall contentment with life.
3. Speak With Other Caregivers
Many therapists and counselors emphasize the importance of surrounding yourself with a tribe of like-minded individuals. In addition to staying in contact with old friends and family members, you should also seek out other caregivers. These individuals will be able to support you and guide you through some of the roadblocks you are sure to encounter. Much like your loved ones, they can give you a fresh perspective on why you became a caregiver.
4. Nurture Your Physical And Mental Health
Just because you are trying to keep your loved one healthy doesn’t mean you can neglect your own wellbeing. Making healthy meals and spending a few minutes exercising will stimulate the production of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and oxytocin. A recent study published in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience found that briskly walking for 30 minutes can enhance a person’s mood for up to 24 hours.
5. Set And Accomplish Personal Goals
Another exceptional way to boost your happiness is to continue setting goals for yourself. Accomplishing relatively minor goals such as meal prepping for the week or getting a certain chore done will give you short-term motivation and long-term energy. Goal setting can also help you identify what is important in your life and what you should be focusing on.
6. Build Your Relationship With Your Loved One
Caregiving could quickly turn into a monotonous job if you let your relationship with your loved one fall apart. Arguments and confrontations are sure to happen occasionally, but most of your time spent together needs to be a pleasant experience. Setting aside time for enjoyable activities such as sharing meals or heading out to the movies may make your caregiving responsibilities feel like less of a burden.