As the calendar turns to a new year, we have suggestions to help busy caregivers manage stress and stay healthy.
Caregivers have busy, often stressful lives even in the best of times. Taking on the role of caring for a senior loved one is rewarding, but rarely easy. For those who have been a caregiver in 2020, the difficulties were even greater. The COVID-19 pandemic made even the simplest tasks, such as grocery shopping or picking up a prescription at the pharmacy, potentially risky.
As we head into a new year, caregivers may want to set a few realistic goals for a healthy 2021. While no one knows when the coronavirus will be controlled, there are steps you can take to limit your exposure and build up your immune system. Here are some to consider.
5 Caregiver Resolutions for the New Year
- Guard against the virus: As researchers learn more about the coronavirus, guidelines on how to stay safe have evolved. The general agreement is that you should wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others, and wash your hands frequently. Avoiding large gatherings, especially indoors, is another way to stay safe. Click here to get COVID-19 updates from The Wesley Community.
- Stay connected virtually: Isolation can have a negative impact on your health and that of your senior family member. While concerns about exposure to the virus are serious, it doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourselves completely. Take a drive in the country on a sunny day. Put your winter boots on and enjoy a nature walk. Also consider the variety of ways to connect virtually. By using a platform like Zoom, Houseparty, or Skype, you can read a bedtime story to the grandkids, visit a local museum online, or even play cards and games with friends.
- Nurture the spirit: Stress can have a negative impact on the body, mind, and spirit. When you are a caregiver, stress is often a part of everyday life. That’s why it’s essential to make time for things that nurture the spirit, even when you are stuck at home. It might be by watching a religious service every Sunday or by spending 10 minutes meditating each morning. Some people find journaling to be the best way to protect mental health and stay positive.
- Practice healthy self-care: Caregivers are notorious for putting their own needs last, especially when time is short. This can lead to a serious health crisis for the caregiver. If you don’t have time to prepare fresh, healthy meals, sign up for a service like Hello Fresh or Freshly. Sleep and exercise also play a key role in staying healthy. How to Help an Older Adult Build a Stronger Immune System has more ideas you will likely find useful.
- Be grateful: Many people are looking forward to a new start. As 2021 begins, commit to finding at least 5–7 things each day to be grateful for no matter how small. It might be the beautiful, snowy trees outside your window or an email from a friend. By focusing on the good, you can train your brain to stay positive. This can help you cope better with difficult times.
2020 has undoubtedly been challenging. We hope these tips help you find ways to stay happy and healthy in the new year.
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