Six Tips For Caring For The Caregiver

Six Tips For Caring For The Caregiver

Care giving can be rewarding but it is also an extremely demanding, taxing responsibility.

Taking care of a loved one is often a round-the-clock job, taking a toll on you physically, emotionally, and mentally. It affects every area of your life and everything you do. It exhausts you.

Caregivers often experience high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and frustration. This is normal, but it is important that you learn to recognize signs of stress and take appropriate measures to cope before you become overwhelmed and burned out. What are the common signs of stress?

  • Lack of sleep
  • Frequent sickness
  • Constant exhaustion
  • Finding yourself impatient, irritated or forgetful
  • Losing your enjoyment in hobbies or other areas of interest
  • Withdrawing from other people

If you are experiencing high levels of stress, it’s time to take care of yourself. Remember that if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of your loved one.

Here are some things you should be doing to cope with stress and take care of yourself.

1) Put your own physical needs first. Take care of your own body. Make sure you are getting the sleep that you need. Take time to eat nutritious meals, and get regular exercise. It will make a difference!

2) Connect with friends. You need to cultivate relationships beyond caregiving. Take time for your friends, whether online, over the phone, or by scheduling time together. Don’t let the demands of being a caregiver push out your other friendships. It will be good for your emotional health, and it will give you a support system in difficult times.

3) Find support. You need support from other caregivers and those who understand what you are going through with your loved one. Utilize community resources to find support for this season of life.

4) Take a break. If there are not other family members who can give you a regular break, then hire someone who does respite care. You need to take regular breaks for your own good health.

5) Deal with your emotions. Caregiving comes with a host of difficult emotions, from anger and frustration to grief and sorrow. Give yourself room to experience, express, and deal with these emotions. Talk things out with a friend. Express yourself through journaling or artwork. Get counseling if you need it.

6) Know when to get help. Learn about the common symptoms of depression. If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms, you need to seek professional help. Signs include:

  • You feel helpless and hopeless
  • You’ve lost interest in friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy
  • You feel tired all the time
  • Your sleep habits and appetite have changed
  • You can’t concentrate, or find that previously-easy tasks are now difficult
  • You can’t control your negative thoughts
  • You are more irritable or aggressive than usual
  • You’re engaging in reckless behavior

Whatever you do, take care of yourself. If you don’t, who will?

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