Managing the stress of care

Managing the stress of care

Being a family caregiver is, by definition, stressful. This is true whether you are helping older parents or a sick relative. Although your efforts can be a labor of love, stress can wear you out.

You must “fill your tank” to have the emotional and physical energy to continue. Start by committing to the importance of meeting your own needs. Think about how not to do so can undermine not only your own happiness, but also your ability to care for your loved one. Think also about how to take care of yourself will help you help them.

Here are some ways to reduce your stress and increase your energy reserve:

Maintain a healthy diet. What you eat not only provides the raw energy so you can spend the day, but it is also essential for your body and mind to stay healthy.

Sleep enough. People often get tired to be able to do more things; and often they even see this as a kind of merit badge, which proves its worth. But lack of sleep affects your ability to think clearly, manage well emotionally and maintain a strong and healthy body.

Exercise regularly. Exercise is a great way to control stress, as well as keep your body and mind strong.

Have fun, even if you need to program it. It’s easier said than done, because when you’re worried and stressed, it’s often hard to have fun. But participating in pleasant and satisfying activities can help you get rid of stress and even enjoy life more. That said, you may have to do activities that used to make you happy until you get some traction and really make you happy again.

Use healthy coping strategies. There are many, many healthy ways to deal with stress. For example, you could go for a walk or jog, talk with friends or listen to music. If you are aware of relying on unhealthy situations, such as smoking, drinking or eating emotionally, consider choosing healthy alternatives.

These people are invaluable resources that can help lighten your load. Talk to them about their difficulties or just enjoy time together. Or ask them to help you in a practical way, such as caring for children or relieving you of some of your care tasks.

Before discarding this suggestion for fear of overwhelming them, consider this: wouldn’t it feel good to help a friend too stressed? Maybe you can offer them this same opportunity.

Keep in mind that you are only human. As with everyone else, you have your limits. You can only do that. Therefore, prioritize and do everything possible to delegate responsibilities.

Remember: this will also happen. Whatever the situation or your emotional state, it will not last forever. Things have not always been so difficult and will not always be that way. The best you can, keep your struggles in perspective. This tactic can help you pass the moment.

Be open to seek professional help. If you feel chronically overwhelmed or unhappy, it may be time to seek outside help. This may mean finding adequate help (such as respite care, which provides short-term relief for caregivers) or communicating with a therapist.

When you manage your stress well, you are more likely to enjoy the benefits of being a caregiver, such as deepening the relationship with your loved one or simply knowing that you are doing the right thing. It will also be more open to the sense of meaning and fulfillment that may accompany this very special role.

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Tags: caregiving, caregiver, relationships, managing the stress of care

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