Who would imagine that spending so much time taking care of another person could also cause you to feel incredibly alone? The hard facts are that caregiver isolation is extremely common, for a number of reasons:
- Mental or physical exhaustion: you’re simply too depleted to want to socialize
- Guilt over enjoying time apart from the loved one in your care
- Resentment toward those whose lives seem so much easier
- And much more
Whatever the cause for the isolation you might be feeling as a caregiver, it’s essential to take measures to overcome it. Social isolation can bring about serious health conditions, including heart problems, depression, stroke, high blood pressure, and difficulties with attention and memory, just to name a few.
Our home care experts recommend starting today with implementing one or more of the following tips:
- Start the day with an optimistic mindset. It might take some effort at first if you’ve been feeling down for some time. A great way to begin is with fifteen minutes of an energy-boosting activity. Make it something pleasant, instead of one more chore to add to your routine, such as by jumping on a small trampoline or following along with an upbeat exercise video.
- Tell friends and family how you feel. People may assume you’re too busy in your caregiving role to want to spend time with them. Let them know you’re feeling lonely and isolated and would enjoy some company.
- Start conversations with strangers. It’s amazing how such a simple thing as chatting with someone in the grocery store checkout line can lift your spirits. Offer a compliment, such as how pretty the person’s shirt is, or commiserate on the need to unload your purchases in the rainy weather.
- Watch how you talk to yourself. Your internal dialogue plays a huge role in your mood. Observe your thoughts. If they are consistently negative or loaded with worries and anxiety, try purposely shifting your mindset. Find three positive things to be thankful for and concentrate on those. When the negativity creeps back in, come up with three more. It might take some effort at first, but will quickly become second nature.
- Find a caregiver support group. You might be surprised to discover how many people feel just like you do. In encouraging and supporting each other, you will have the opportunity to make some new friends who are able to empathize with and understand the journey you’re on.
Of course, incorporating more socialization into your life as a caregiver is not easy. It entails finding a trusted source for respite from your caregiving tasks so that you can step away and take care of your own personal needs. Fortunately, Amy’s Helping Hands, the top provider of home care in Windsor, Ontario and the surrounding areas, offers the perfect solution. Give us a call at 519-915-4370 and together we can develop a plan to ensure the best care for the older adult you love, and a healthier life balance for you also.