Updated: Nov 9
If you are a health care provider or caregiver, please read this carefully. If your loved one is in this role, please share this information with them.
Health Concerns of Caregiving
Every year we have more and more alarming information on caregivers' state of health. Caregiver burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by the prolonged and overwhelming stress of caregiving. Caregiving is often a long-term commitment with no or little hope that the person you care for will get better. It is not unusual to see caregivers, who are family members, neglect their own needs and health in favor of the loved one's needs. "If you are a caregiving spouse between the ages of 66 and 96 and are experiencing mental or emotional strain, you have a risk of dying that is 63 percent higher than that of people your age who are not caregivers." (Shultz, Richard and Beach, Scott (1999). Caregiving as A Risk for Mortality: The Caregiver Health Effects Study. JAMA, December 15, 1999, vol. 282, No. 23.) The job of primary caregiver is not your typical 9 to 5 job; stress and burnout could occur. According to www.caregiving.org, informal caregivers provide 82% of long-term care.
There are a few common signs of caregiver stress and burnout:
· Anxiety, depression, irritability
· Feeling tired and run-down.
· New or worsening health problem
· Difficulty sleeping
· Overreacting to minor nuisances
· It seems like you catch every cold or flu that's going around
· Trouble concentrating
· Drinking, smoking, or eating more
· Neglect own needs
· Feeling helpless and hopeless.
Focusing on Self-Care
We all heard the old saying, "you can't offer a drink if your cup is empty." Let's agree that our wellbeing will reflect on the quality of care we provide. We cannot stop or reverse the impact of a chronic illness or a debilitating injury on someone you care for. But we must take responsibility for our wellbeing and get our own needs met. Take a pause and ask yourself, "What good will be to the person I care if I become ill?" Every caregiver must realize that Self-Care is part of the overall Care-protocol. It is not selfish to focus on your own needs and desires when you are a caregiver—it is an essential part of the job. You are responsible for your Self-Care.
A few Self-Care strategies: * Learn and use stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, breathwork, prayer, yoga, Tai Chi. * Get proper rest and nutrition. * Exercise regularly, even if only for 5 minutes at a time. Exercise promotes better sleep, produce dopamine in your body, reduces tension and depression. It would be great if the care recipient can walk or do stretching exercises with you. * Take time off without feeling guilty. * Have me-time, do something that brings you joy. Participate daily in pleasant, nurturing activities, such as reading a good book, taking a warm bath. * Seek and accept others' support; talk to a trusted counselor, friend, or pastor. Reaching out for help when you need it is a sign of personal strength. (Especially during a pandemic. It is physical distancing, not a social distancing)
Reiki, as an Energy Healing technique, is the number one modality for caregiver's mental, physical, and spiritual health. It is a scary scenario when the caregiver becomes someone who needs to be taken care of. Reiki's holistic non-interventionist approach helps with mental fog, concentration, and decision making. It helps obtain inner peace strengthens the immune system. Now many medical institutions are beginning to pay more attention to the declining health of health care providers. The majority of hospitals offer Reiki sessions through the Integrative Medicine Department or Wellness Centers. If your facility does not provide these services but would like to provide them in the future, please share my contact information with them, and I will assist them in setting up this program.
In my practice, I complement Reiki with Bain Gym, EFT, and other modalities. I offer stress management techniques, breathing exercises, meditation, and Reiki classes designed for caregivers.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
With love and light,