7 Tips for Assisted Living Caregivers to Stay Healthy and Happy
As rewarding as it is, caregiving can sometimes feel exhausting and requires time to refuel.
It is important for anyone’s overall health and wellbeing to consistently focus on self care. Some days can present stress, anxiety, and burnout and while these are unfortunate realities of the profession, there are ways to alleviate that pressure.
It’s more important than ever to maintain a positive mindset in your personal and professional life. Let go of the “I guess I’ll just deal with it” mentality for good.
Here are seven approaches to leading a more happy and fulfilling career as a caregiver.
What Exactly is Mindfulness?
You’ve probably heard the word mindful on social media, in a therapy advertisement or recited by your yoga instructor. It’s definitely a current buzzword.
So, what exactly is mindfulness, and how can being mindful help reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace?
Think of your breathing right now. Do you notice it? Probably not. Despite affecting almost every muscle in our body, we barely notice our breathing.
But when we stay mindful and focused on our breath, we can actually feel the movement of air inflate our lungs and force our sternums upwards.
Try for yourself.
Take a deep second breath in as you count to five. Notice the difference in how you think and feel about your breathing.
Do you feel the nuance movements of your muscles? What’s causing this? Now breathe out slowly and empty your lungs. Feel the difference?
Congratulations, you’re being mindful! Now apply this principle to other areas of life.
Negative or intrusive thoughts become more easily managed when you’re mindful of the circumstances behind them. You’ll literally breathe a breath of fresh air as anxiety and stress become more manageable.
Staying mindful can work miracles in reducing workplace burnout and enhancing your mental health.
Are You Getting Your 8 Hours?
Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule has a surprising number of health benefits. Not only is it great for overall mental and physical health, but it can also help sustain weight, enhance attention span, and lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Busy schedules, family responsibilities and technological distractions make getting a full night’s rest easier said than done.
Balancing Alcohol and Caffeine
We’ve all heard it before; avoiding or reducing alcohol and caffeine can help maintain deeper sleep and lead to an overall healthy lifestyle.
Although, you shouldn’t feel guilty about an afternoon run to the local coffee shop or a mid-week happy hour with coworkers. Finding the right balance is key while staying mindful of your caffeine and alcohol intake and adjusting accordingly.
Do you tend to have trouble falling asleep on days when you grab a 1 pm espresso pick-me-up? Drink it at 10 am. Feeling a bit slow Friday after Thursday night at the soccer field with your children? Set a reminder to turn in an hour earlier.
A little balance goes a long way.
Boring Isn’t Always Bad
If you’re one of the 58% of Americans who fall asleep in front of a screen or television, here’s a strategy that might help you enhance your sleep.
Watch boring, uninteresting content before bedtime.
Putting on the latest binge-worthy series can be detrimental to your sleep by triggering emotional responses that stir thoughts and keep you up longer.
Watching reruns or listening to nature sounds still provides background noise, but is less distracting than tuning into a trending series or podcast.
Did You Know
Studies indicate lack of sleep leads to increased appetite, thus increasing the chances of obesity and obesity-related illnesses.
A Real Approach to Diet
Suspicious before and after photos, promises of results in 30 days or less, and annoyingly placed ads begging to subscribe for more weight-loss tips.
There’s a new fad diet every day.
But how does a healthy diet look to the busy caregiver trying to maintain a work-life balance?
Food affects people differently, And there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all approach to maintaining proper health and nutrition. So don’t fret if the scale doesn’t reflect what was promised online right away.
Diets are long-term lifestyle choices. To be effective, finding a sustainable approach over a long period is crucial. Experiment with different foods, flavors and spices. Reduce calorie intake with portion control. Mix in exercise. Walk to the shop instead of driving.
The goal is to find a diet and lifestyle that makes sustaining a healthy weight more achievable in the long run.
When was the last time you roasted s’mores over a campfire or hiked with family and friends?
A healthy amount of sun and outdoor exposure is beneficial to your overall health. As a matter of fact, doctors around the world are beginning to prescribe anxiety sufferers time spent in nature as an alternative to medications.
But how is being outside actually beneficial to your health?
Studies report that time spent in nature can improve sleep, boost confidence, decrease blood pressure and help to enhance immunity.
An overall boost in health isn’t a bad trade-off for a few minutes outdoors each day, especially after a long shift.
When we exercise, a chemical reaction occurs and releases endorphins and dopamine into our brains. These “feel good” chemicals boost our mood and energy and help us feel more relaxed.
And most importantly, less stressed.
There’s a mountain of additional benefits that come with regular exercise.
- helps with weight control
- reduces risks of cancers and other diseases
- enhances thinking and judgment
- builds muscles and strengthens bones
- improves sleep
Don’t know where to start? Exercise doesn’t require a gym membership or expensive workout clothes. Even a 30-minute walk provides health benefits and is a great starting point on your fitness journey.
Nearly every industry has been negatively impacted by staffing shortages, increased labor costs and other unexpected factors following the pandemic. Senior living has been no exception.
The circumstances have taken a mental toll on caregivers and support staff in communities around the country.
If you’re a caregiver concerned about your mental well-being, you’re not alone. Studies show that 20% of Americans suffered from mental illness in 2020.
Luckily there are both low-cost and high-tech solutions that can help you stay happy and mentally well.
Technology has given new meaning to staying connected. And while Instagram and Zoom create fun and convenient ways to connect digitally, there’s a good case to be made for re-establishing or finding new in-person relationships.
Loneliness and depression are on the rise in the United States. And data strongly suggests that it impacts not just seniors, but people of all ages.
Add the record inflation and an app for everything, and it’s more tempting than ever to stay home-bound all weekend.
But humans are social by nature. And spending time with folks in-person boosts our moods, decreases the risks of mental illness and provides a sense of belonging.
Reconnect with an old friend, plan a board game night or revamp interrupted holiday traditions with people who know and trust; your mental health will thank you.
Online therapy is becoming a popular alternative to traditional in-person therapy.
Also called tele-therapy, online therapy pairs you with licensed therapists, and sessions are done virtually through a platform-based subscription such as Better Help or Talkspace.
Platforms provide options for one-on-one as well as marriage and group counseling.
And you don’t have to set aside an extra hour of your time to enjoy the services. Users can chat via messenger throughout the day if needed and enjoy workshops and educational sessions offered on a flexible basis; perfect for a caregiver’s schedule.
Celebrate Small Wins
Here’s a little-known fact.
Celebrating goals and accomplishments is beneficial to our overall health. Celebrating not only reminds us of life’s positive aspects, but it’s also motivating and leaves us craving more. It’s why we look forward to the holidays but feel a sense of emptiness when they’re over.
So take the time to treat yourself.
Did you reach this week’s exercise goals? Celebrate with a guilt-free dessert.
Was it a milestone in your mindfulness journey? Splurge and try the new restaurant in town.
Being a caregiver isn’t an easy job, so don’t feel guilty rewarding yourself. You’ve earned it.
Whether you’re providing care at home for a loved one or as a healthcare professional, caregiving can be draining on one’s mental and physical health.
Finding the proper lifestyle approaches can help, though. Finding that perfect work-life balance is possible through a holistic approach to health and focus on finding what’s right for you.Interested in exciting and well-paid opportunities in senior living? Visit Masonic Homes Kentucky to become a part of our growing family.October 3, 2022