Protecting your emotional health
Too much stress, especially over a long period of time, can cause you to burn out. You may feel anxious or depressed by the overwhelming responsibilities you face.
Taking care of your physical well-being, such as exercising and getting enough sleep, can help improve your mood and release tension. These tips can also help make a difference.
Say “yes” to help.
If a friend or family member offers to help cook a meal or provide a ride, take them up on it. If they ask if there’s any way they can help, let them know what would be most useful. Maybe they can stay with your loved one while you go for a walk or run an errand. Or they could pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. Be as specific as possible about what help you need and when. And if you aren’t getting any offers of help, don’t hesitate to ask.
If your loved one is older or living with a disability, they may have a BCBSRI Medicare Advantage plan with benefits that can help relieve some of your caregiving responsibilities—from $0 household help to $0 private rides. See what is available. With many BCBSRI plans, you can also reduce trips to the pharmacy—and maybe even save money—by having medications delivered. Find out more by contacting BCBSRI Customer Service.
Take time for yourself.
As a caregiver, you likely often put yourself last. But making time for things you enjoy can help protect your own health and help you care for your loved one. Think about what makes you happy—whether that’s having dinner with a friend, doing yoga, or gardening—and how you can make time for it. If you need help outside of friends and family, see how to find help at home.
Even taking five minutes for yourself can make a big difference in your health. That’s the idea behind Take 5 for You—small steps that can help improve your mental, physical, and financial health. See them all at rhodeahead.com/take5.
Join a support group.
Being a caregiver can feel lonely, but there are many other people in the same situation who understand and empathize. If your loved one has a specific health condition, such as cancer or dementia, you may want to join a support group for that condition. But there are also general support groups for caregivers that are available in person or virtually.
If you need help finding a support group or other mental health assistance, call BCBSRI at 1-800-274-2958.
Talk with a mental health professional.
Feeling sad, frustrated, or even guilty? You’re not the only one. Many caregivers get support from a therapist. If it’s a challenge to get out of the house, many therapists in the BCBSRI network offer video appointments. Need help finding a provider? Call BCBSRI at 1-800-274-2958.
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