Tuesday Tips for Caregivers: How to Balance Stress as a Family Caregiver
As family caregivers, we are balancing a lot of different feelings, stresses, and emotions as we perform our role to care for a loved one. Often times, nobody trains us for such a demanding job and we are left to learn from our mistakes. Over time, the stress of caregiving and the emotional burden of caring for an aging loved one can build up, making us depressed, more stressed, and on-edge.
As a result, we probably have less patience and are more inclined to avoid doing things that are actually good for us, like pursuing favorite hobbies, self-care, and social interaction. In this blog, we want to explore some ways you can help lessen negative emotions and balance stress as a family caregiver. Below, we will share just a few ways you can decrease your burden.
How to Ease Your Burden
(1) Ask for Help: This cannot be stressed enough: ask for help. This can be the difference between caring for your loved one and burning out due to exhaustion. Asking for help can include anything from talking to a family member and organizing a working schedule together to hiring a professional caregiver. Concerning the latter, organizations like ElderCare at Home exist for this purpose. We are here to help you find time to relax and recharge.
(2) Set realistic goals: One of the ways we often disappoint ourselves is by setting unrealistic goals. This means that our goals are unlikely to be achieved given our current circumstances while we tell ourselves the exact opposite. After a while, we become discouraged, tired, and frustrated. Whatever tasks you set out to do, make sure you are realistic in your plans and endeavors. This a great preventative measure to minimize stress.
(3) Accept how your feel: One of the ways we can balance our emotions is to understand that they can be normal parts of our experiences as caregivers. We do not need to feel ashamed for feeling frustrated, guilty, or sad. These emotions are expected. Acceptance is also a good practice to understand what might lead you to feel a certain way at certain points. Knowing what your triggers are is a good way to learn about yourself and your emotional limits.
(4) Connect with others: One of the worst things we can do is to isolate ourselves from the people we love. Unfortunately, it is an easy thing to do when we are feeling stressed or depressed. Resist this temptation by scheduling a night out with friends or a weekend lunch with a cherished family member. Socializing and going out are great ways to keep up our mental health and encourage a good mood.
(5) Talk to a mental health professional: Last but definitely not least is taking mental health seriously. Feeling sad, angry, depressed, or overburdened are all reasons to see a certified mental health counselor. These a professional with the necessary educational background who can treat people experiencing mental health challenges. Just like you would go to the doctor if a part of your body was aching, you can go to a counselor to discuss the complex set of emotions you feel as a family caregiver. One other option is to go to a support group. There are many kinds of support groups out there, and there are even ones geared toward family caregivers.
If you have any other questions, then please give ElderCare at Home at call at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.