When caregiver stress continues on for too long without an intervention, it can lead to burnout. Caregiver burnout is not a good place to be. Often, it means that you can no longer provide care for your loved one.
Caregiver Stress – Where Do You Feel It?
Caregiver stress can affect your well-being in several ways: emotionally, physically, socially, mentally and financially. When you feel exhausted, when you have nothing left to give emotionally, physically or mentally, then you face burnout. Please don’t let things get to that point. Get help before you reach rock bottom. It’s not healthy for you or for the one you are caring for.
Stress can leave you feeling empty inside, like all your inner resources have been used up. Or it can leave you short-tempered and irritable. It can also manifest in symptoms like depression, where you find you don’t care about important things anymore, or you can’t see the joy in life that you used to.
Caregiver Stress – What Can You Do About It?
There will always be stress associated with caregiving. You can’t just wave a wand and make it go away. But there are constructive things you can do to alleviate it so that it is always kept at minimum levels. It’s an on-going process.
Doing something about the stress before it has a chance to build up and take its toll on you is the best way to approach it. Here are some ideas for you:
- Accept help. Often, people in caregiving situations are offered help from friends or family. If you have not been given the gift of help, then seek help. There are a lot of people who would be willing to step in and give you a hand. Ask family; there may be cousins or nieces or someone else beyond your own siblings that would lend their help. Friends can be a good resource as well.
- Join a support group. Look for a support group in your community; people you can connect with who are in the same situation as you. You can share ideas and encourage each other. You may even be able to network together, sharing the load so that you watch the other’s parent so they can have a day out to do something. Later, you can return the favor. This might be fun for the aging parents too, as it gives them someone new to visit with.
- Keep up your physical fitness. Keep your body healthy by exercising regularly and eating right. This will go a long way to prevent you from getting sick and also to help your mind stay alert and healthy.
- Give yourself a mental and emotional vacation. This is where you take a day to totally do something to pamper yourself while someone else tends to your loved one. Go to the spa or for a girl’s night out with friends. For men it might mean a fishing trip with your buddies. Go out for a movie or spend the day shopping. Just feel the freedom of doing what you want. That good feeling will stay with you for a while and boost up your well-being.
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