Do you know that the “e” in energy stands for? No? Well, it stands for excitement, exhilaration, and enjoyment! Think of a group of kindergartners bouncing all around, laughing, and enjoying themselves, or the “cheery neighbor,” who never misses an opportunity to do something nice for new neighbors, even though she works full-time and has three young children at home. The kindergartners and neighbor are prime examples of energy! Energy is what makes life “livable.” But, unfortunately, there are times, especially if you are a caregiver to an older adult, that you feel depleted – zapped.
It’s those times when you know you need to renew your strength, but you just don’t have the energy even to do that. If you are like 99% of the caregiver population, it’s critical that you renew your strength, when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, and/or burned out. So, how can you energize yourself when you are completely and utterly exhausted? Well, you are in luck because this article is going to teach you how to renew your strength, so you feel refreshed when caring for an older adult.
So, ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to renew your strength and boost your energy? Yes and Yes? Well, let’s get started!
Celebrate being a Caregiver
You can refresh yourself simply by celebrating small victories. What does that mean? Well, it means that when you start to feel hopeless and helpless, remind yourself that you are doing a good thing. In other words, remind yourself that you don’t have to “save” your loved one to make a real difference in his/her life. Don’t dismiss the importance of caring for your loved one – making sure he/she is safe, happy, loved, and comfortable. That’s a big deal!
Drink several glasses of water (sorry, no alcohol, although it probably feels like that’s the answer sometimes). It’s important to drink at least 64oz of water each day, 8 – 8oz glasses of it, to stay hydrated. The best thing about water is that it can refresh and energize you, so you feel rejuvenated. It’s common to feel rundown, depressed, and irritable when you aren’t getting enough water. All it takes to rejuvenate yourself when your energy level drops, is to splash cold water on your face and/or drink a cold glass of water. And, according to the AARP, another way to boost your energy is to take a 10-15 minute cold shower during the day.
Laugh to burnt out stress
A good way to refresh, when you feel worn out is to laugh. More specifically, make yourself “belly laugh.” Truth-be-told, laughter is the perfect remedy for “caregiver stress and burnout.” And, guess what? A giggle or two can rejuvenate you! So, grab that bestseller off of the shelf, watch a 30-minute funny sitcom or 2-hour comedy, and/or call a “funny” friend and ask him/her to come over for a while. Most of all, try to see the humor in every situation you encounter.
Renew Your Strength When You Are a Caregiver
Another way to renew your strength is to exercise. If you are like most of us, exercise isn’t exactly our favorite thing to do on our “off times,” but it’s an important thing to do if we want to energize ourselves. The good news is that once you finish working out, you’ll feel a thousand times better. Plus, the best way to renew your strength is by moving – especially when you are experiencing “caregiver stress and burnout.” Do you know why exercise is so important, if you are tired and worn out? Well, because it’s one heck of a stress reliever and mood booster. So, schedule at least 30-minutes of exercise into your weekly routine – broken up into 10-minute increments or one lump sum.
Meditate to Clear your Mind
This may sound like a strange way to energize yourself, but it’s really effective for boosting energy. In fact, regular meditation can ease stress and increase your happiness, peace, and overall energy. So, the next time caregiver responsibilities are wearing you down, practice yoga, meditation, deep-breathing exercises, muscle relaxation techniques, and/or mindfulness. Did you know that meditating just a few minutes a day can refresh you and leave you feeling like a new, more relaxed person? Well, it can!
Adopt a Healthy Diet
You probably figured this tip out fairly quickly, but you can refresh after a challenging week simply by adopting a healthy diet. Renew your strength by noshing on fresh fruit and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, fish, nuts, and olive oil. These healthy foods will energize you without causing you to “crash”. P.S. avoid caffeine and sugar because they will cause you to “crash”.
Get Rest to Renew your Energy
It’s not uncommon for caregivers of older adults to experience insomnia from time-to-time. You have a lot on your mind, after all. But, not sleeping can lead to a host of unpleasant side-effects, which is counterproductive if you are trying to renew your strength. So, try to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep at night and if that’s not possible, refresh by taking cat-naps during the day.
AARP. (2017). Energy boosters for sleepy caregivers. Retrieved from http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2014/energy-boosters-sleepy-caregivers.html
Helpguide.org. (2017). Caregiver stress and burnout. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/caregiver-stress-and-burnout.htm
Prevention. (2017). 35 teeny tiny tips to boot your energy and reduce fatigue. Retrieved from https://www.prevention.com/health/reduce-fatigue-and-boost-your-energy