5 Ways to Survive Caregiver Stress in 2019
Despite all the great advice out there on how to relieve stress, not all of us can look to the same resources, let alone face the same stressors each day. Caregivers are extremely unique in that sense.
Of course, it’s all about baby steps, so we hope the following simple ways to relieve stress will help you – especially in the new year!
1. Pick your battles
If you’re a caregiver, chances are you are a perfectionist. Struggling to make sure everything goes right on a daily basis can wear you out, and contributes to unnecessary, very unhealthy, levels of stress. Do yourself a favor and make a list of the things you worry or fuss over daily. Mapping out your so-called “stressors” like this can make it easier to recognize try to pick out a few that aren’t worth getting upset over. Hopefully, this will help you prioritize your most important tasks, and help you learn to not sweat the small stuff or little things that can go wrong from time to time.
2. Don’t assume you’re the boss of your client
Often times, family caregivers, such as an adult child taking care of their older mother or father, lose sight of their true relationship to their parents as the child. Depending on the parent’s state of health, and due to countless stressors, these caregivers often overwhelm themselves and their parent as they assume full control. Don’t ever forget the role you play, and who you are in relation to your parent or client.
3. Take it slow
Going off of the above, make sure you handle every and any situation with your loved one or client with peace. Take it slow, even when it seems like you have to rush. This will not only help lower levels of stress by lowering your blood pressure, but alleviate anxiety and contribute to a healthier life down the road. Studies have shown that by “faking” a calm attitude, you can actually trick your brain into releasing serotonin and endorphins. These hormones are commonly released when you’re laughing with friends, or after a great exercise!
4. Speak to other caregivers
As important yet difficult it is to stay connected with friends and family as a busy caregiver, we can’t stress how helpful it is to connect with those in your shoes. Talk to your agency about joining a caregiver support group, or simply attend any event or training they may host where you might just make a new friend. Making friends with a fellow caregiver will give you valuable support and advice, especially as you both already have so much in common!
According to recent surveys, around 20 million Americans reported giving meditation a shot this past year, which goes to show just how much we need some time to reflect and break away from our routines. Besides using various apps like Calm or Inscape which you can download to your smartphone or tablet, you can sign up for classes at your local YMCA or community center. Ask you agency for recommendations, too! Just like praying, as it’s often compared to, meditating will help you with your mental health, mood swings, and anxiety.