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A Survival Guide for Caregivers

    In the healthcare industry, it’s easy to forget about the well-being of caregivers and put all the focus on the patient. However, giving care day in and day out is a demanding and stressful task. And patients can only get the best care possible if caregivers take some time out to care for themselves. 

    An above-the-knee amputee and his wife who is also his caregiver.

    If you’re a caregiver, you know this very well, and we, at Amputee Store, wrote this guide especially for you so you can manage your stress levels and always be your best self for your patient and loved one.  

    1. Accept that you cannot control everything. Micromanaging everything only leads to greater stress. The sooner you accept that you just have to let some things be, the sooner you can stop overthinking.

    2. Know what your priorities are. It’s easy to worry about anything and everything. However, if you know what your priorities are, it’s easy to redirect all your focus and energy on the things that matter the most. 

    3. Organize important documents. One of the top stress aggravators is a chaotic life. Decrease your stress levels significantly by keeping all of your important documents, as well as your loved ones’, organized and stored in a safe and accessible place. These documents include financial, legal, and medical records, among others. Another way to keep organized is by storing important documents in the "cloud." With so many cloud storage services available, with an associated phone app, we suggest using a HIPAA compliant service like Spider Oak. You can safely store your documents in the cloud, update them with your phone and always have access to these documents wherever you are.

    1. Learn how to say “no.” Don’t get us wrong; grabbing every opportunity that comes your way is a great philosophy in life. However, it’s also important to know your limits. Say “no” when you know that there’s too much on your plate.

    2. Maintain a balanced diet. A stressful job makes it easy to neglect healthy eating habits in exchange for whatever’s convenient. To ensure that you eat healthy the entire week, set aside one day to meal prep. Prepare food that you can cook in large amounts and freeze them in separate containers so you can quickly reheat your food before each meal. 

    3. Hydrate with water. There are days when we need to rely on caffeine to get through the day. But it’s important to get your fill of water. Water is the cheapest and best way to alleviate common ailments such as the common cold and headaches. 

    4. Get enough rest and sleep. Adults usually need around 7-8 hours of sleep every day. While it’s easy to think that sleeping is a waste of time, always remember that a well-rested mind and body will help you power through your tasks during the day. 

    5. Limit your phone usage before going to bed. Numerous studies show how exposure to blue light, which is emitted by your smartphone or laptop screen, can affect your sleep quality. A good rule of thumb is going phone-free at least an hour before sleeping. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, avoid the temptation of checking your phone before bed by purchasing an actual alarm clock. Another option is to set your phone on Do Not Disturb, so you don’t wake up every time you receive a notification. But if you’re worried that you might miss an urgent call, you can save that person’s number to your Favorites, so you’re immediately alerted every time you receive an urgent call or message from that number.  

    6. Exercise. Set aside at least 15-20 minutes of your day to exercise. You don’t have to sign up for an expensive gym membership; you can check Pinterest or YouTube for free workout programs. 

    7. Keep your emotions in check. Emotional well-being is just as important as physical well-being. Keep your feelings in check by making sure that you have at least one person you can talk to. You can also choose to keep a journal if you’d rather not share your thoughts with anyone. What’s important is that you can process your thoughts and feelings, which helps maintain emotional well-being.

    8. Take breaks. Know when your body needs to stop working. Also, learn to accept help when others offer it. 

    9. Indulge in some self-care. Whether this is going out for a leisurely walk or sleeping in on a Sunday, self-care measures that allow you to reward, treat, and love yourself help you stay sane. 

    While these tips might seem indulgent to some, realize that making room for some rest once in a while never hurt anyone. Doing these will only help you become the best caregiver that your patient and loved one needs you to be.  

    Are you a caregiver? How do you keep your stress levels in check? Share your tips with us in the comments section. 

    Give better care by caring for yourself first with these tips