How To Manage Caregiver Stress in a Healthy Way
Published: January 30, 2021
For most caregivers, it may seem as though there are not enough hours in a day. Going to work, dropping the kids off at practice and taking care of a parent doesn’t leave time for much else. Sometimes that’s okay and as a caregiver you certainly knew what you were signing up for, but you cannot neglect yourself through this journey.
Even if you’re sharing responsibilities with a sibling, caring for a loved one will take its toll. This rewarding experience can turn to exhaustion if you’re not careful. It is especially easy when you are so emotionally close to the patient.
Don’t let it sneak up on you.
Many of you that have recently started experiencing caretaker stress will likely pick up on it quickly. Unfortunately, it is very possible that you’ve slowly been acclimated to the additional stress and did not take notice.
We’ve compiled a list of indicators of caregiver stress. Use your life before you became a caregiver as a benchmark. Since then, have you encountered any of the following?
• Do you have constant and/or overwhelming worry?
• Has feeling fatigued become your default?
• Are your sleeping patterns undesirable?
• Have you lost interest in hobbies or activities you once enjoyed?
• Do you feel sad or depressed?
• Have you begun using drugs or alcohol?
• Are you feeling sick more often, dealing with migraines, etc.?
• Do you notice yourself getting irritated more easily?
How to Cope with Caregiver Stress
If you have identified any of these signs of stress in yourself, it’s important to get it corrected. Falling victim to caregiver stress is not only a burden on you, but your parent and other family members as well. Here’s a few ways to bounce back and refresh:
Ask for help. Talk to your family about what is going on in your current situation. Surely someone is available to take a shift here and there. Any little thing to get you some time for yourself is beneficial.
Join a group. Yes, it’s a cliché, but you are not alone. There are plenty of other folks out there dealing with these same issues. Just having some time to vent to someone that can relate will really help.
Focus on personal welfare. Taking a timeout to exercise and eat a healthy diet can drastically improve one’s mood. Use whatever enjoyable physical activity you can think of to release some endorphins and boost your frame of mind.
Keep up with your own medical appointments. Sometimes, caregivers are so caught up with caring for their loved one that they let their own doctor’s visits slide. Practice what you preach!
You may decide it is time to get some outside help. Many independent and assisted living communities offer home health services with skilled nursing to help out with mom or dad. If you’re interested in what an Ohio Living community has to offer, contact us today