It’s been said that “Motivation gets you started, but goals keep you moving forward.” 

As we begin the year 2022, we hope you’ve enjoyed the holidays and have had a chance to rest and relax a bit after another challenging year of caregiving in this “Covid era.”

The goal of this article is to help you get moving forward again after your rest period has ended and to help you set a handful of goals that can help you attain something just about every caregiver needs and wants: a better work-life balance.

1. Sharpen Your Skills

Every task in life seems more manageable when you know what you’re doing. Fewer steps are needed, leaving you with more energy and an improved outlook on life, which helps you be the best caregiver you can be for your loved one.

One area of life that most of us need to sharpen our skills to improve our caregiver work-life balance is time management. As you start your day, have in your mind, or on paper, a list of the myriad of things you want to accomplish before your day as a family caregiver ends.

When you skillfully manage your time, your day flows much smoother as you check off most or all of the items on your “to-do” list. This will leave you feeling more relaxed and confident when you are wrapping up and are ready to enjoy some well-deserved “me time,” which will improve your work-life balance.

2. Find a Mentor

If you’re serious about having a better work-life balance, the best teacher for that is someone who has successfully navigated the tricky waters of maintaining a healthy relationship between caregiving and living a full life.

There are some pretty good books and YouTube videos on how to be a great caregiver, but there’s not much out there about balancing your life as a caregiver. However, a seasoned caregiver who is mentoring you can share their tips, tricks, and techniques for attaining a healthy work-life balance.

3. Focus on Your Mental Health

After all, you’ve been through in the past several years with caregiving and the pandemic, It’ especially important that you focus on your mental health. There’s been a lot said and written about maintaining your physical health as a caregiver and avoiding injuries, but not a lot about staying healthy mentally by keeping anxiety and stress levels in check.

Some ways you can maintain good mental health are scheduling regular breaks, joining a support group, setting goals for a healthy diet and regular exercise, or seeing a therapist. 

4. Make Time For Yourself

Sometimes you just need to call a timeout so you can step aside and catch your breath. Fatigue can sneak up on you quickly and lead to “caregiver burnout,” which is harmful to you physically, emotionally, and mentally. By taking time for yourself to rest and relax before you reach the breaking point, you’ll enjoy life more and be a much better caregiver as a result.

5. Build a Support Network

Flying solo and trying to figure out the world of caregiving is extremely difficult, and unnecessary. Sometimes you need to bounce ideas off of other people who are successfully balancing life with caregiving responsibilities, and sometimes you just need to vent to a friend, family member, or another caregiver. It’s natural, and healthy, to express your frustrations in a positive way.

Being a caregiver can also lead to feelings of isolation, particularly during this time when Covid continues to linger and curtails some of the daily activities you need to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Having a support network will leave you feeling connected to others and help you keep a healthy perspective on your roles and responsibilities. 

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