5 Ways to Relieve Caregiver Stress
Providing unpaid care for a loved one is an honorable undertaking that can be very rewarding. Knowing that your friend or family member is receiving their care from someone who knows and loves them is a comforting feeling. But even if you have the patience of a saint, the physical and emotional strain of being a caregiver can get to you.
Symptoms of caregiver stress include:
- Feeling overwhelmed or worried
- Being tired, regardless of amount of sleep
- Weight gain or loss
- Frequent headaches and other physical pains/discomfort
- Irritability or anger
Prolonged periods of stress can cause physical damage to your body. It is vital that you make time to take care of yourself, or you won’t be able to take care of anyone else. Here are 5 ways to relieve caregiver stress:
When you start to feel your stress level rise, find a quiet place and practice some controlled breathing. Breathe in deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and release slowly. Deep breaths increase the amount of oxygen in your blood, calming you instantly. Repeat as necessary before resuming responsibility.
Make Time for What You Love
In all the busyness of providing round-the-clock care, it can feel as if you don’t have time for the things you used to do. Find some opportunities to partake in some relaxing hobbies. Read a book, listen to some good music, go see a movie, or do something creative! Regularly scheduled self-care is a must. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you become more prone to illness, injury, or burnout, meaning you’ll be less capable of taking care of your loved one.
See Your Doctor
It is important that you keep up on all of your own regularly scheduled doctor appointments. Be open about any symptoms of stress you may be experiencing as a result of being a caregiver. Your practitioner will be able to suggest ways to help you manage your stress level and any physical effects.
Being a caregiver can be isolating, but sharing your experience with others who understand can make it less so. Find someone you can talk to about what you are going through, whether a therapist, a friend, or a family member. You can also look for a caregiver support group that meets regularly. Meeting with other caregivers will help you realize you are not alone, and you can exchange tips for care.
Many times, the flood of people asking “How can I help?” can seem overwhelming. Or you may feel as if you don’t want to inconvenience others. Take some time to sit down and make a list of ways others can ease the burden. This can include transportation for the person under your care, meals, laundry, or even just to stay with them in your place so you can get out for a little while. Present this list to those who are offering, and allow them to choose how they can help.
If you do not have friends and family who are able to assist, you may be able to find a respite solution outside of the home. There are many different options that are provided by communities, faith-based organizations, and healthcare facilities. Many times, insurance will pay for at least part of these services. Call the insurance company to find out what exactly is covered.
Home Care Services in Montgomery County, MD
If you are a caregiver in need of assistance, we can help! Advanced Nursing & Home Support is a private, locally owned and operated home health care agency that serves the greater Washington, D.C., metro area, including Maryland and Virginia. We offer a wide range of medical and non-medical services including in-home care, transportation, cleaning services, respite care, and much more. Our experienced and compassionate staff are dedicated providing the best care for your loved one, giving your family some peace of mind. Call today to schedule your free in-home assessment!