It can be overwhelming to take care of a loved one who is aging or living with cognitive problems or a disability. Too much stress can be harmful to you and to the one in your care. It’s important to recognize the signs of caregiver stress and put actions in place to manage and reduce your stress to avoid caregiver stress syndrome.
What Are The Signs Of Caregiver Stress
As a family caregiver, you are “on call” almost all the time. This ongoing demand can make you so focused on the loved one in your care, that you forget about yourself. This can lead to caregiver stress. You put your own health and well-being on the backburner to take care of them and their everyday needs. If you are suffering from caregiver stress syndrome, you can’t provide the proper care to your loved ones.
How Caregiver Stress Manifests
Stress from caregiving can sneak up on you. It’s important to keep watch for these signs of caregiver stress:
• Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
• Feeling tired often
• Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep
• Gaining or losing weight
• Becoming easily irritated or angry
• Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
• Feeling sad for no reason
• Having frequent headaches, bodily pain or other physical problems
• Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
How To Deal With Caregiver Stress
Make a list of the ways family and friends can help you and let them choose what they would like to do. Be specific and let them know the days and times that you could use their help.
Set daily goals.
Having a laundry list of tasks that must get done each week can be overwhelming. Break down your week into daily goals and then prioritize, make lists and establish a daily routine.
Schedule time each day to do some type of physical activity. Not only will it help you stay fit, but exercise is also a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel- good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Unhealthy eating patterns can cause stress levels to skyrocket and potentially increase your risk of health problems in the future. Being stressed can increase your need for certain nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin, B, selenium (an antioxidant that fights oxidative stress and helps defend the body from chronic diseases) and magnesium. A well-balanced and nutritious diet is one of the most important ingredients for good health.
Get plenty of sleep.
Not getting quality sleep over a long period of time can cause health issues. If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, talk to your doctor.
Join a support group.
If you’re feeling alone and overwhelmed, finding a local support group can provide connection and interaction, as well as problem-solving strategies for difficult situations. The people in support groups will be nonjudgmental to your situation. They understand what you may be going through and can provide counsel, support and even friendship.
Take a well-deserved break.
Everyone needs time away to relieve stress and restore energy. And, let’s face it…taking personal time for yourself can do a world of good! Hiring an outside source to offer support with respite care—from a few hours each week to several days—can allow family caregivers to step away from caregiving responsibilities and take care of themselves. Respite care is an essential part of being a caregiver.
Keep your doctor appointments.
Studies have shown that caregivers are likely to suffer from several health problems. Make it a priority to see your doctor regularly to discuss any concerns or symptoms you have.
Why Is Stress Management Important – Caregiver Stress Syndrome
Family caregivers face a lot of stress. Many work full-time jobs and raise their own families on top of the responsibilities of looking after their aging parents. The demands of the job can take both a physical and mental toll on even the most resilient people, leaving them drained and exhausted. This can lead to caregiver stress syndrome In order to be more patient and available, it’s important to keep caregiver stress within manageable boundaries. These tips reveal why it’s important for family caregivers to lower their stress levels and how to do so every day.
Why is stress bad?
While a little stress is natural, too much can cause long-term problems. Developing caregiver stress by prolonged exposure to stressful situations can
leave caregivers more vulnerable to developing health issues. It can raise your blood pressure, lower the strength of your immune system and lead to long-term diseases like heart disease or stroke. This demanding lifestyle can also interrupt sleep while causing irritability and headaches. Certain caregivers are at an exceptional risk of feeling stress—females, live-in caregivers and those with depression often have higher stress levels than others.
Caregiver stress can not only lead to illness, but it can also preoccupy your mind and lower your patience with whomever you’re caring for. It’s important to make sure you’re regulating your stress levels and identifying when you need to take a step back to look after yourself before others.
FirstLight Home Care – Senior Home Caregiver Services
We understand how stressful family caregiving can be, but hopefully, these tips will help you learn to manage the demands of the job while remaining relaxed and happy. One of our main goals is to relieve you of caregiver stress.
If you need family caregiving support so that you can take care of your loved one without caregiver stress, we can help. Contact FirstLight Home Care today.
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