Ten Steps to Managing Stress: Stress and the Caregiver: A guide for Caregivers
Caring for a person with an ongoing illness or for an older adult can be very stressful. These tips will help you manage the stress that comes with the difficult job of caregiving.
- Talk with other Caregivers:
*Talking about the stresses of caregiving can give you a great deal of relief.
*Join a support group. Sharing with others who are going through the same kinds of things can help you feel better. You may also learn new ways to cope.
*You may want to talk with a friend or relative. Or, you may be more comfortable talking with a counselor.
2. Take Care of Yourself:
*Make sure you take time off caregiving. Time to yourself is essential!
*By taking breaks, you will be able to avoid ‘burnout’ and do a better job of caregiving.
*You will also be saving your health and emotional well being.
*Consider hiring a health aide to give you a regular break.
*Don’t forget to take of yourself. Get regular check-ups-your health is also important.
3. Ask for Help:
*Caregiving is a huge job-and it is too much to do alone.
*Ask family or friends to pitch in. Make a list of ways they can help. Have it ready when they offer.
*Use respite services. Contact your local social services to find out about respite care, adult day care and other resources in your area. For more information, visit ww.eldercare.gov on the Internet. Or, call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
*Consider hiring someone to clean your house and run errands.
4. Learn to Let Go:
*Focus on those things are most important. Let go of less important commitments.
*Accept that you may not be able to do things the way you used to. For example, you may not be able to clean your house as often or do the dishes after every meal.
5. Rest as much as you can:
*Without good rest, you will quickly wear down. Things that used to be manageable may seem unbearable.
*Help the person you are caring for get on sleep schedule so that you can too.
*If possible, sleep in a different room. Use a monitor to let you know if the person wakes up.
*Have someone else stay with the person one or two nights a week so that you can catch up on sleep.
6. Eat Well:
*Food is out body’s fuel. Without good food, we quickly wear down.
*East regular, healthy meals. Make sure you get plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains and protein.
*Avoid eating too much sugar, fat and salt.
*Avoid foods and drinks with caffeine.
7. Avoid Alcohol:
*Alcohol and other drugs may seem like they are helping stress, but in the long run, they will wear your body down.
*If you are using alcohol or other drugs to help you deal with stress, talk to your doctor or a counselor.
8. Keep your sense of humor:
*Try to find humor in difficult situations.
*Spend time with friends who are fun and make you laugh.
*Laughter can actually release chemicals in your body that will help you feel better.
*Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Even a few minutes a day can help!
*Try walking. Walking with friends will give you a social outlet as well as exercise.
*If you can’t leave your house or caregiving duties, you can exercise by stretching, walking or jogging in place.
*If the person, you are caring for needs exercise do it together. Try walking, dancing or seated exercises.
10. Be Good to yourself:
*You are doing a tough job and you deserve a reward.
*Buy yourself flowers, go out to dinner or watch a sunset.
*Think about what you can do for yourself (or what others can do for you) that will make you feel good. Then make it a priority!
This pamphlet was written by Mardi Richmond for Journeyworks Publishing.
For: Journeyworks Publishing
P.O. Box 8466
Santa Cruz, CA 95061
**This pamphlet is meant to help the caregiver out.
**Disclaimer: This pamphlet is meant to help the caregiver. Always take time out for yourself and consultant with a doctor when needed.