Every caregiver has to deal with managing caregiving stress regardless of the disability of the person they are caring for. When a family member has had to assume the role, it changes roles and habits in a family while adding the stress of learning new routines, managing financial pressures and increased workloads.
Caregivers around the world suffer from emotional, mental and physical stress, but with the right support and management, the stress does not have to be overwhelming or reduce health or quality of life.
Tips for decreasing caregiver stress and making caregiving a rewarding experience:
- Ask for help and accept it when it’s offered- trying to do it all on your own leads to burnout.
- Take care of yourself- easier said than done, but make sure you are sleeping, eating healthily, and monitoring your own health.
- Get support- consider joining a support group or participating in counseling online or in your local area.
- Practice acceptance- “Instead of stressing over things that you can’t control, focus on the way that you react to challenges.”
They also share an exercise that might be helpful for you to try:
“Imagine you saw someone else providing all of the care and support that you provide to your loved one. How would you feel about that person? Admiring of their skills? In awe of their dedication? Compassionate for their feelings of weariness? Impressed by their love for their family member? Let yourself be aware that this is how others see you.”
It’s important to remember that “caregiving is a very direct expression of competence, dedication and love. Remember to bring those same skills to your self-care, to power your ongoing caregiving.” You can’t take care of someone else if you’re not taking care of yourself.
What are the best ways you’ve dealt with managing caregiving stress? Share your tips and they may be featured.