As a caregiver, we tend to be very busy attending to the needs of the people we care for and most of the time we forget to take care of ourselves. Caregiving is a very demanding job as it involves a lot of stress, especially if the person we are caring for is very sick or nearing the end of life. We may avoid health related problems due to caregiving stress by taking care of ourselves, otherwise, we might not be healthy enough to able to continue caring for others.
Here Are Some Ways To Help Cope with Caregiving Stress:
Studies show that allocating time for ourselves by taking breaks from caregiving can help us be better caregivers.
It is important to do something for yourself each day. It doesn’t matter how small it is. Whatever you do, don’t neglect yourself while caregiving.
You can do this by following these tips:
1. Find Nice Things For Yourself.
Even just a few minutes can help. You could watch TV, take a coffee break, call a friend, work on a hobby, or do anything that you enjoy.
2. Be Active.
Even light exercises such as walking, stretching, or dancing can make you less tired. Yard work, playing with kids or pets, or working in the garden are helpful, too.
3. Find Ways To Connect With Friends.
Are there places you can meet others who are close to you? Probably you can chat, get caregiving support by phone, email or online discussion forums.
4. Give Yourself More Time Off.
Ask friends or family members to pitch in with caregiving. Take time to rest and relax. Maybe see a movie or have lunch with a friend.
In a support group for caregivers, people may talk about their feelings and caregiving trade advices. However, others may just want to listen. Talking things over with other caregivers may give you some ideas on how to deal with all the caregiving-related stress you have been experiencing.
Usually, in many cities, caregiving support groups are held in other languages besides English. You can also turn to other support groups that meet over the Internet by joining online discussion forums. Joining online support groups is a convenient way of consulting other caregivers since you can do this in the convenience of your own home. It will be also be helpful to ask your friends, a nurse or a social worker to help you find a support group that meets your needs.
Taking time for yourself can help you be a better caregiver. That’s even more true if you have health problems.
You may feel too busy from caregiving to think about your own health, but taking care of your body gives you strength. How can you take care of someone if you feel weak or tired due to caregiving stress?
You can keep up with your own health needs and avoid caregiving stress by:
- Visiting your doctor at least once a year for a physical exam.
- Taking your multivitamins and medicines (if needed) daily.
- Eating healthy to help make your immune system stronger.
- Getting enough rest.
- Exercising several times a week or at least 30 minutes a day.
As a caregiver, it is important to take care of yourself to help avoid stress, anxiety, frustration and exhaustion, which may eventually lead to “Caregiver Burnout.” Read Tips on Preventing Caregiver Burnout to learn more.
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Catharine “Kate” is a Certified Administrator for Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE) and an Expert Senior Care Advisor. Kate’s grandmother battled Alzheimer’s Disease and Kate personally understands what millions of families are going through. Kate and her team are very passionate in empowering Seniors and their families by providing them with the Best Available Senior Care Options based on Senior’s care needs, preferred location and family’s budget.
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