6 Ways to Deal with Caregiver Stress
Caregiving can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming. It exacts a steep emotional and physical toll, so it’s no surprise that many caregivers often find their stress levels high. If this stress is left unchecked, it can seriously interfere with your health and wellbeing, so it’s important to find ways to reduce it. If you are a caregiver, the following tips can help you find balance in your life, which will allow you to feel a little more relaxed.
1) Take Care of Your Own Needs
Taking care of someone else becomes more difficult if you’re not properly taking care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating healthy, nutritious meals and exercising regularly – both of which will help to keep your energy levels up and your stress levels down. Try to get at least 8 hours sleep each night, as cutting back on time in bed will only make your day’s tasks feel more like hard work.
2) Get Organised
Simple tools like calendars and to-do lists can help you prioritise your responsibilities and keep on top of everything that needs to be done. Planning out each day or week will allow you to feel more in control and will help you manage your time more efficiently. Always try to tackle the most important tasks first and try not to dwell on the less important tasks that you just can’t find time for.
3) Give Yourself a Break
For a busy caregiver, leisure time can seem like an impossible luxury, but you do need to make time for yourself. Giving yourself permission to rest and do things you’ll enjoy will benefit both you and the person you’re caring for. You’ll feel less stressed and you’ll be a better caregiver for it. Try setting aside 30 minutes each day for yourself, whether that’s to read or have a relaxing bath, and find time to get out of the house and socialise with friends and family.
4) Ask for Help
Caregiving doesn’t have to be something you do alone. When you need help, ask for it. Speak to family and friends who will be happy to help you with errands, or to look after the person you’re caring for every now and then when you need a well-deserved break. If someone offers assistance, say yes! Don’t be shy about accepting help.
5) Join a Caregiver Support Group
Joining a caregiver support group allows you to share your thoughts and difficulties with people who are going through the same experience as you. You’ll be able to talk about your problems, receive helpful advice, and share the knowledge you’ve gained with others. The knowledge you gain just from speaking to other caregivers can be invaluable and may really help you to cope better with the stress of caregiving. You can join a local support group for face-to-face interactions or you can simply join an online group if that’s easier to fit into your schedule.
6) Practice Relaxation Techniques
A daily relaxation or meditation practice can be all it takes to keep your stress levels to a minimum. Try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or mindfulness meditation – even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. Taking those few minutes to calm yourself can make even the most overwhelming day feel a little more manageable.
Remember, when you’re burned out you’re putting your own health at risk and your ability to provide care is affected. Too much stress hurts both you and the person you’re caring for, so make managing your stress levels a priority. Find what stress-busting technique or habit works for you and make it a solid part of your routine.
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