Stress management is one of the main concerns that many working caregivers face. Stress does not only lead to new health problems and increase the severity of existing issues, but it can also impact our relationships, including the relationship between the caregiver and care recipient. It can lead to feelings of bitterness, resentment, and guilt that, when not addressed, can have a negative impact on the ability to provide care to a loved one.
A person’s own emotional and physical health should always be their top priority, no matter what else is going on in their life. This is extremely important for caregivers, because if our own needs are not being met it becomes impossible to help meet the needs of another person. Everyone may feel a certain level of stress, but the key is to be aware of when our stress levels are getting too high and may begin to have a negative impact on our overall well being.
Some questions to ask yourself: Are you getting adequate rest? Do you have a poor appetite or find yourself overeating? Are you frequently feeling anxious or unhappy? Are you feeling overwhelmed and hopeless? If you find yourself answering yes to these questions you may be experiencing caregiver related stress and the following tips may be helpful:
Make your physical health a priority: This means eating well balanced meals, exercising regularly, and getting adequate rest. It also means seeing your physician for wellness exams and preventative screenings as needed.
Take advantage of respite opportunities: Whether you rely on friends or family to help you out, or you need to find community resources such as home health care, Adult Day Services, or residential options for Respite, you deserve a break. Caregivers tend to isolate themselves from their friends and are often lacking opportunities to socialize and maintain friendships. As a caregiver, it is very important that you have a strong social network to lean on for support and an opportunity for stress relief.
Take time for yourself each day: Even if this is just a 30 minute break to read a book or watch TV, your own needs have to be a priority and we all need to spend some time doing things we enjoy, that are just for ourselves.
Ask for help when needed: In addition to respite care, there are community resources that are available to help with every aspect of caregiving, from transportation to assistance with personal care for your loved one. Think about which areas of caregiving are adding the most stress to your life and begin to implement services that can help relieve some of those responsibilities.
The compassionate staff at St. Andrew’s Senior Solutions serves and supports older adults and their families by providing respite care, care management, and nursing services. For more information please contact Toni Vaughn at 314-726-5766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.