Self-Care for Caregivers During the Coronavirus Outbreak
As we described in our last post, caregivers are under an unbelievable amount of stress as we negotiate these days of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is essential that you take time to care for yourself in order to do your best work on the job.
So what can caregivers do to deal with the stress during the coronavirus outbreak? Most of these tips apply any time but you’ll see some are specific to the state of emergency we are currently experiencing.
Get help. You are dealing with so much stress and pressure that even just talking about it to someone is a good start. Whether you talk about your fears and exhaustion with a family member (maintaining confidentiality, of course) or a therapist, there is no shortage of similarly caring people to help you through these difficult times. In fact, just announced on April 8, Kids Help Phone has opened their Crisis Text Line to frontline workers of all ages across Canada. Several counsellors and therapists are offering their services for free to help out right now, as well. Search in your area for someone who can guide you through some stress-relieving discussion.
Be social. Just because we have to be physically distanced to stay safe doesn’t mean that we have to be socially isolated. Pick up the phone and call a friend. FaceTime, Zoom, Google (Hangout) Chat, or Skype with a family member or friend at a distance, for free! Seeing smiling faces and hearing friendly voices can do wonders for the soul.
Get outside and be physically active. Again, despite the physical distancing required these days, you can still get outside, get some exercise and get those endorphins going to feel good. It’s even better in the gorgeous sunshine so you can get that vitamin D, too. Live in a condo or apartment? Go out on the balcony or even just open the curtains and windows and do some yoga stretches. Have a backyard? You can be as physically active as you want while being sure you’re not cross-contaminating. Have a dog? Go for a walk – just be sure to stay 6m apart from anyone else on the street. You can work in lunges and squats around the house. Or put on some of your favourite music and dance! It’s all good.
Hygge. Do you know that Swedish term for self-care? The Swedes have a market on cuddling up with a book on the couch, under a comfy blanket, and relaxing with a cup of tea. However you do self-comfort, make sure you schedule time into your day to take care of yourself.
Freedom of choice and free of cost. There are so many wonderful people putting their services for free online right now that you can choose whatever activity you might like to do to pass some time in a less-stressful headspace. From famous chefs doing Instagram cook-alongs, to personal trainers and yoga masters putting exercise and mindfulness routines online, to piano lessons – practically anything you want to try can be done for free right now, such is the kindness of the world we live in.
Whatever you choose to do, stay safe, take good care of yourself, and know that you have our thanks for putting yourself out there everyday to care for our family and friends.
Do you work with people living with dementia? Stay tuned for a blog post with special considerations for dementia caregivers and COVID-19.