Fighting Caregiver Stress
While many people turn to health care professionals to help, oftentimes they attempt to handle care services themselves. On average, about 1 in 3 adults are informal caregivers to other adults. Serving as a caregiver can be a rewarding experience. However, it can be normal to feel the emotional and physical stress that comes with the role. These stresses can lead to other health changes as well. The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce these impacts if you are a caregiver.
Have a Support Network
For those taking care of patients with issues such as dementia, it’s difficult to provide care without having additional help. It’s helpful to provide clear examples of what you need from other people as a means of support. Whether this means taking time to play games with a patient, exercise, or another activity, you can graciously accept whatever help is provided. In addition, look for support groups either online or in-person where you can find others that are going through the same struggles and can provide advice.
Take Breaks as Needed
It may seem impossible to schedule time for yourself, depending on how busy your schedule as a caregiver is. But it’s something that should be a part of your schedule. Taking time to relax and de-stress can help you feel more focused and energetic. This can be done by spending time doing activities that give you happiness, pampering yourself, or doing something outside of your house.
Prioritize Your Own Health
When looking after the health needs of others, you should also make time to look after yourself. This means not skipping doctor’s appointments or checkups, and scheduling time to exercise. Other options include taking up daily relaxation or meditation activities, giving yourself the right amount of sleep per night, and eating well. By incorporating these and other methods, you are able to prevent avoidable health issues.
Talk To A Specialist
If you are feeling overwhelmed with handling your role as a caregiver, talking to someone about how you are feeling can be beneficial. Your doctor can provide a referral for a therapist that provides specific counseling based on your needs. Doing so can be a key to preventing depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. Many agencies, including local, state, and federal, also offer recommendations.
If you are serving as a caregiver, it’s important to consider your personal health in addition to that of others. You can ask your doctor if you are experiencing signs of stress and they can suggest techniques or other options to manage your feelings.