Becoming a caregiver is arguably one of the most stressful jobs any person can take on. Whether you are becoming a first time parent, or taking on the role of caregiver for your parent, you’ll need lots of support. Sadly, the training and support most caregivers receive is limited…at best.
We’ve put together a short list of 6 methods that can help relieve caregiver stress. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.
Be open to asking for and accepting help.
When you run into a difficult situation that creates stress, make note of it – a written note. The next time it happens, try asking a friend, family member or professional for help. Friends and family can be great resources when schedules get tight and professionals can offer guidance in areas you’re not formally trained in.
Know your limits and stick to them.
Caregivers are notorious for wanting to be the expert on their loved ones, but sometimes others really do know better. Try not to overstep on yourself. If you don’t know the next step, let someone else take the reins.
Set a goal. Make a plan.
Managing stress can be done in steps just like any other task. If completing your loved one’s morning routine is the hardest part of your day, set a goal to take a break halfway through and have a cup of tea. You’ll be lowering your frustration level and likely doing the same for your loved one – making the whole experience better for both of you.
Use the resources available.
Sometimes caregivers can fall into a trap of believing others need to rely on outside resources more than they do. Let’s be clear. Those resources are there for a reason and if you can benefit from them, accept that there are good people willing to help. Set up transportation, get meal assistance, free clinics, clothing, social activities and anything else that might be out there.
Join the community.
Simply engaging with a community of people living in the same situation as yourself can relieve a lot of stress by reinforcing the fact that you are not alone. Join a social media group, community center, or support groups. Meet people who’ve been where you are and listen. You’re likely to find friendships and solutions to problems you didn’t know you had.
Make your physical health a priority.
There is no better duo than balanced mental health and a strong body. Get plenty of sleep, keep a healthy diet and find time to exercise regularly. 30 minutes of exercise can boost your metabolism, strengthen your immune system and help clear your mind of negative thoughts.