How to Overcome Stress as a Caregiver

Being a caregiver to a loved one who has a chronic medical condition is never an easy task.  Though it has its rewards, the everyday challenges can easily build up, and become increasingly stressful.  Even the most resilient person can succumb to the overwhelming burden of the duties of caregiving.

Caregiving offers many rewards, and simply being there for someone in need is a core value.  Being called upon repeatedly fosters extra pressure, and can drag you down.  With your own busy schedule, work, children, a spouse, you already have enough to balance when adding in the care of someone else.  You may find yourself wondering where do I find time for myself?

Here are some tips that can help save time and reduce stress.

When dealing with medical issues, tackle the small ones first.  Call and confirm doctor appointments and make sure (if necessary) that any test results are in, so as to avoid two trips out.

Use respite care, neighbors or other family members to allow yourself time for just you.

Find ways to reduce your stress and give yourself much needed self-love.

If you find you can’t get away, make yourself a cup of tea, and read a book, even if it’s for a simple twenty minutes.  Being able to allow your body to simply rest goes a long way towards helping you feel better.

With the help of others, take the time to go for a walk in the park, or to your favorite coffee shop, the library, ways that you can clear your mind of the daily tasks at hand.

Make a list.  When someone else asks, how can we help, having a tangible list goes far.  Simple things like picking up prescriptions,

stopping at the store for the items you forgot, or taking a load or two of laundry and preparing a meal goes a long way in giving yourself a break from that simple chore.
It’s smart to be alert to compounded stressors that can lead to a breakdown in your own health, and lead to caregiver distress. Here are some signs that you need some relief:

  • If you find yourself becoming agitated with your loved one
  • Simple things that used to bring you pleasure, no longer do so.
  • Over anxious thoughts and feelings
  • Beginning to feel depressed

As a caregiver, it’s important to make sure your health is optimal.  It’s important to know the warning signs, and seek help.  Your loved one is counting on you.  Taking time for self-care is as important for them as it is for you.

 

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