Mental Health of Family Caregivers and Its Importance
It's Mental Health Awareness Month! This month, we need to recognize the importance of caregivers taking care of their mental health. If you have the task of taking care of a loved one, then you know the stress that can come with the job. Sometimes, it might feel like you have so many responsibilities that you don't have enough time to care for yourself.
However, caregivers must take the time to care for their mental health. This blog will discuss what caregivers need to know about caring for their mental health:
Why Should Caregivers Take Care of Their Mental Health?
Caregivers must spend time taking care of their mental health. This way, their minds can be clear while they're taking care of their loved ones. Everyone has a different situation, as some people have mental health struggles that are worse than other people. However, it's important to note that everyone can feel down, to some extent. Don't ignore the signs of a mental health issue, because as a caregiver, it's crucial to act before things get too severe.
What Caregivers Should Do...
As a caregiver, you need to do frequent check-ins with yourself to ensure that you feel the best possible. Think about your routine, your mood, your eating habits, your social battery, and your physical cues. If any of these things seem different than they usually are, you might be neglecting your mental health.
For caregivers, it is crucial to remember that physical health impacts mental health a lot. Therefore, if you're not exercising, eating well, and sleeping, it's likely that your mental health will suffer, too. Be sure to properly care for yourself physically, to ensure your mental health will be taken care of.
Self-care is important. This means that caregivers deserve to do all the things they love to do. Whether it's spending time with friends, watching movies, or playing video games, do the things that help you to decompress. This, in turn, will make your mental health better.
Finally, of course, seek counseling if that is something that would benefit you. There's no harm in seeing a licensed therapist to help you through any emotional stressors that you're enduring. In the end, it will make you a better caregiver.
What Caregivers Should Avoid...
One of the things that caregivers should avoid, is exerting too much mental energy toward their job. Yes, you have to do your best at your job. However, if you put too much energy into it, you're going to end up burning out. This is never good, because burning out impacts the person you're caretaking and yourself.
If you feel like you're starting to enter a phase of burnout, be sure to figure out how to remedy the issue at hand. Maybe you're thinking about caregiving too much, and you need to have a social outlet with friends who can take your mind off things. Maybe you're too busy caregiving to consider exercise. In this case, find a way to create a routine that incorporates working out.
If you have a family member or friend who needs a caregiver, you can lovingly and successfully fill that role, so long as you take care of your mental health. For more information about Elite Choice and our CDPAP program, where friends and neighbors can get paid for caring for their loved ones, contact us today.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain management and internal medicine. She oversees all patient services across Elite's departments.