Here are some expert tips on what you can do to prevent caregiver depression before it gets out of control:
- Make time to talk regularly with family and friends. If you feel the need seek out the assistance or mental health professional. The most important thing to do is not isolate yourself. Join a local support group, or find one online. It is important that you find a place where you can share your feelings with out feeling judged. This will also help so they don’t build up and escalate into problems you feel you cannot handle.
- Learn to set limits and boundaries. This can be very hard for care partners, because they often feel as if they need to take on everything that needs to be done. Not only is it okay to say no to taking on more than you can handle. It is the right thing to do for your own mental and physical health and well being.
- Eat well balanced meals, find time to exercise regularly and get enough sleep. OK that is really hard for most care partners, because of the irregular schedules they must keep. It is important to change the way you view your body and mind: they are machines, and must be maintained properly in order to function at their best. Eating right, exercising and sleep are the things that fuel these machines. You need to take care of your body as if it was a well maintained vehicle. A car does not run without gas, oil and tire changes. Think of your body the same way.
- Realize you are human and let go of unrealistic expectations you have of yourself and others.Care partners often have unrealistic expectations of themselves. They push themselves to meet the demands of others. Accept the fact that you cannot do it all, you are human. Ask for help and accept help when offered. Many care partners have a tendency to take on the role of a martyr. Don’t do that, it have a negative impact on your own health.
- Find humor everyday. We all know that laughter is the best medicine, so find reasons to smile and laugh often. Find humor in everyday day things Relax with a funny movie or TV show, or put on a comedy tape to listen to while you do your chores.
- Start and end you day with 3 things you are grateful for. It takes just a few seconds. Be specific. Not just “I am grateful for my good health” but, ” I am grateful for being able to walk with out pain” or “I am grateful that I can hear the birds singing outside”. Over time, you will find yourself being grateful for things through out the day.