As a caregiver for your elderly parents, you are responsible for multiple tasks. Among those myriad responsibilities, you have to find time to care for yourself. With so much to do, it can be difficult to avoid burnout. Ease the stress of your caregiving responsibilities by finding ways to reduce your to-do list.
Have a Life
To begin with, it’s very important for you to have a life of your own outside of being a caregiver. Getting burnt out is easy, and it can happen relatively fast. So, you need to find ways in which you can relax. Get together with a group of friends, go to dinner and a movie, go shopping, or to a concert. You want to maintain the high standard of caregiving that you are providing. Sometimes that means taking a break from your normal routine.
Negotiate Your Work Hours
As for balancing your career while being a caregiver for your elderly parents, check whether you have the option to work from home. This will enable you to complete your job tasks on your own timetable while still being able to care for your parents. If you can’t work from home, perhaps you can choose more flexible hours to accommodate your caregiving schedule. If neither of these is an option, determine whether there are chores that you’re able to complete before leaving for work. Chose chores and tasks that will sustain your parents all day.
Last, but not least, talk with your parents. Confide in them about what you are trying to do: avoid burnout. Don’t assume that they won’t understand. They may have even sensed your stress already. Maybe they can offer ways to help you. You don’t have to do everything alone if they are capable of doing something. Maybe they can tackle light chores around the house, or help the kids with their homework. AARP offers additional symptoms of burnout and how to avoid them.
Even the best of us need a break sometimes. Living and taking care of yourself is hard enough, and adding someone else to the equation can make things more difficult to bear, but if you have a heart for caregiving, you can do it. Experiment to find what works best for you. Creating a sustainable caregiving lifestyle may take a bit of time and practice. But it’s worth it.