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Trying to stay motivated as a family caregiver is one of the most challenging things to do. It’s so hard to watch your loved one fight against their disease every day, but it’s such an important job.
This list of tips will help you keep motivated to be the best caregiver you can for your loved one.
Start each day rested
Getting a good night’s sleep means you’re able to do a better job the next day. Creating a consistent sleep schedule will help with that good night’s sleep.
Practice a bedtime routine by doing the same things each night. A routine tells your body and mind that it’s time to slow down and get ready to sleep.
If you are having trouble sleeping, check with your doctor for suggestions.
If your sleep troubles are just occasionally, take advantage of your loved one’s nap time and catch a few winks yourself. Even a 20-minute power nap can make a huge difference in your attitude and outlook.
Just as a bedtime routine lets your body know it’s time for sleep, a morning routine gets your mind ready for the day to come. A routine also means you don’t have to do too much thinking before the coffee takes hold.
Creating a schedule for the day is a big help too. (See this post for help with organization and scheduling.) It can be overwhelming when you always have to figure out what to do next.
Schedules and routines also let your loved one know what to expect next. Keeping their day going well helps to keep your motivation topped up.
Shake things up
On the other hand, maybe your motivation is lacking because everything is too routine. (I know, it’s a no-win situation.) If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, throw in some changes. Plan an outing if possible.
Check with your library or senior center for activities. Maybe you can go to the senior center for lunch, or have lunch with a friend once or twice a month.
Small changes in your day-to-day activities can make a massive difference in your attitude and that of your loved one.
Connect With Support Groups
Support groups are available through your local hospital, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities. You can also find support groups online, through Facebook and other social media platforms.
Support groups give you the opportunity to connect with other people who are going through the same thing and find ways to deal with the stress and stay motivated. You’d be surprised how much better you can feel just by hearing someone say they understand and have been there too.
Exercise to Stay Motivated
Finding time to exercise may seem impossible, but it’s important to figure out some way to squeeze it in. Exercise helps you stay healthy, and is also a great way to clear your head and blow off a little steam.
Maybe you can get a neighbor or friend to sit with your loved one during nap time so you can get out and walk a bit. If your loved one is wheelchair-bound, maybe you can take them out for a walk with you. Walk as briskly as you safely can, using the wheelchair as resistance. For a change of scenery, try walking in the mall.
Get a different perspective
Often we get so busy that we focus only on the work and not the why. Taking a step back allows you to remember why you are doing this and who you are doing it for.
Try to spend some time with your loved one in a non-caregiving setting. Give yourself a chance to relearn who the person is, not just who the patient is.
Find humor in the situation
According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can:
“stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. Activate and relieve your stress response.”
Try to find something to laugh about each day, even if you are laughing at yourself. Better yet, try to find something that you and your loved one can laugh at together. Maybe share a memory of something funny, or remind them of an inside joke you share. Laughter will benefit both of you.
These are just a few ways to refill your motivation tank. Try them out and let me know what you think.
I’d love to hear other ideas from you in the comments.