Caregiver health is a very important topic. If you spend emotional energy taking care of others, then naturally you’re at risk of burnout. In order to keep yourself well, you have to find forms of stress-relief.
Crafting can provide that relief. This particular article is about crochet for caregivers. However, you can also use other crafts to improve caregiver health.
Are You a Caregiver?
There are many different types of caregivers.
For example, many adults are caring for their aging parents both in and out of their homes. Their parents may have serious physical and mental health issues including dementia or other age-related memory loss.
Other caregivers are raising children with special needs. They may have physical disabilities or conditions like autism. Even children without special needs require a lot of time, attention, and energy from you. You’re their caregiver.
Still others are caring for a spouse who has a chronic illness or a mental issue. Perhaps someone in your life has substance misuse issues. Whatever the issue, if you regularly help them with physical, mental, financial, and/or other needs then you’re a caregiver.
These are all great things to do for the people that we love. It’s how the fabric of families and societies stays knitted together.
Stress and Caregiver Health
The caregiver is an important role. However, being a caregiver to anyone is a really stressful experience and it’s one that often goes on for years and years without a break.
If you’re not well then the people you are caring for in your life are not going to be getting their best from you. Taking care of yourself may feel selfish at first. However, it’s actually the best way to keep yourself in the right condition to give the best care to others.
Here are some of the most common ailments that caregivers experience in their own lives:
- Failure to engage in proper self-care leading to lowered immunity and chronic health conditions
- Depression and related conditions including low self-esteem and fatigue
- Chronic anxiety and related conditions including insomnia
- Constant stress leading to stress-related disease including heart conditions
- Alcohol and substance abuse issues
Regardless of the type of care that you’re providing, as a caregiver, you are prone to the aforementioned issues. Here’s why:
- Caregivers spend so much time and energy taking care of someone else that they forget to take care of themselves.
- There is a constant sense of worry happening whether that’s worry about the person’s health or worry that you aren’t doing enough as a caregiver. This is linked to anxiety and stress.
- Caregivers sometimes find themselves feeling really isolated. They may not have a community that understands what they are going through.
- Caregiving situations can increase stress in marriages, especially if the couple has differing opinions on care.
- It can often feel very hopeless to be battling a chronic mental or physical illness, which leads to depression.
Crochet to Improve Caregiver Health
Crochet can be a way that you give yourself small breaks in order to stay well as a caregiver. It is a craft that has been found to offer a variety of mental and physical health benefits.
Caregivers can make the choice to engage in daily (or at least regular) craft time as a means of self-care.
Crochet may be used in the following ways for caregiver health and wellbeing:
- Daily crochet time that you carve out just for yourself as a time to indulge in a personal creative experience that is all about what’s best for you. Even ten minutes per day can help!
- Crocheting items for the people that you love. This can be a generous way that you show your care for them even when you have to take respite time away from them to give yourself a break.
- Crochet while waiting in hospitals and doctor’s office. This can reduce anxiety around your loved ones’ health conditions. In general, crochet reduces stress and anxiety through it’s calming, repetitive and softly tactile motions.
There is an entire chapter on crochet for caregivers in my book, Crochet Saved My Life. If crochet is something that you love then make sure that you remember it’s also a tool that can heal you and keep you feeling sane!
If crochet isn’t your jam, that’s okay. Find the craft that helps you de-stress and re-nourish. Then make time in each day to turn to that for a reprieve from caregiver stress.