You can control your stress
Stress while caregiving seems inevitable, but it’s actually something you can decrease. That’s right, you’re NOT at the mercy of stress! This is important because too much stress causes serious health problems. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t stay healthy enough to care for anyone else.
4 ways to defeat caregiver stress
1. Recognize and acknowledge stress
- Don’t sweep negative feelings under the rug or dismiss them as “just stress.”
- When you notice feelings of frustration, anxiety, overwhelm, or other negative feelings, write down the situation and how you feel. This helps you notice patterns and triggers.
- Take baby steps toward reducing or eliminating stressors. Sometimes all it takes is getting perspective on the situation and understanding why it makes you stressed. Other times, you’ll realize you would benefit from help in those areas.
2. Take a problem-solving approach to caregiving issues.
- Learn about the problem and research solutions by asking health professionals, searching the Internet, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ask relatives, friends, or colleagues if they know anything about this issue, you’ll be surprised how helpful this can be.
- An active approach makes you less stressed than if you reacted by worrying or feeling helpless.
3. Rely on your caregiving team
- Putting together your caregiving team isn’t just an exercise in family diplomacy.
- Delegate responsibilities without feeling guilty.
- Lean on the team for support when you feel extra tired or overwhelmed.
4. Focus on the positive
- Caregiving gives you the feeling of giving back to a loved one, makes you feel needed, and can lead to stronger relationships with your older adult, family, and friends.
- Many caregivers say they appreciate life more as a result of their experience and that caregiving has made them feel good about themselves.
Stress can make you feel terrible and adds to the caregiving load. While you can’t change the fact that you’re a caregiver, stress is something that you have control over. It won’t happen overnight, but working actively on identifying and reducing sources of stress will improve your life.
This article is part of our Caregiver Beginner’s Guide series. For all 8 articles in this series, go to our Caregiver Guide Overview.
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: The Feeling of Success