Family caregivers often deal with a mix of tasks each week. In addition to cooking and cleaning, there’s helping with bills, doing the laundry, and driving your parents around town. If you also have children at home, a spouse or partner, and a full-time job, it’s easy to feel overloaded.
Don’t let your responsibilities as a family caregiver pressure you. With these tips, you’ll learn how to manage your time without becoming overwhelmed.
Learn to Prioritize
Prioritize the to-do list each day. Some tasks must be completed daily. That includes activities of daily living like cooking meals and snacks, remembering to take medications, and paying bills.
Some tasks are okay to leave for another day. If your mom doesn’t take a shower today but took one yesterday, it’s okay for her to skip a day. If you can’t do the laundry until your next visit, it will be fine. Your parents don’t need you to do the laundry that day.
Even when you are busy helping your mom and dad with daily activities of living, spend some time outside. Fresh air and nature help improve your mood, boost your immune system, and help you burn off some of the stress that’s building.
Bring your parents outside, too. They’ll benefit just as much as you do. Go for a walk or work in your parents’ vegetable and flower gardens. If they don’t have gardens, you can help them get started.
Never Lose Sight of Self-Care
Self-care is important when you’re a family caregiver. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the things that your parents need and stop doing the things for yourself. When was the last time you had a day alone with no responsibilities? If you can’t remember, it’s long overdue.
Team Up With Others
Is anyone else helping you? Is there a reason you’re the only one helping your parents? If you’re doing all of the work on your own and you have siblings, it’s time to ask them to chip in.
You shouldn’t have to be the only one helping out. Your brother works weekends, but he has Monday and Tuesday off. It’s not fair of him to ask you to give up one of your days off to do all of the cooking for the week. He should be helping out on one of his days off.
Sometimes, family dynamics do have some family members helping more than others. If you’re in that situation, look into hiring professional caregivers. Aides can take over the daily chores. You’ll have time to focus on your self-care needs and personal obligations.