Coping with Caregiver Stress – How to Look After Yourself
If we’re lucky, as we get older, so do the people that we love. Our grandparents, parents, and other older relatives start to age and often require more care. Unfortunately, older relatives needing more care and support often coincides with our own households needing us more, our growing careers, and other responsibilities that take up our time. Quite often, we suddenly find that we have an older relative to care for, our own household is growing, and we have new pressures at work, all at the same time.
As much as we want to be what everyone needs us to be, it can be hard. Becoming a caregiver, or facing growing challenges and demands on our time, or top of our other commitments can be hard. Most caregivers at some point face stress, burnout, and even more serious mental and physical health issues. Here are some of the best ways that you can cope with this stress and take care of yourself while looking after everyone else.
There is almost always more help available than you might think. If your loved one is home from a period in hospital and requires far more help and support than usual, homecare assistance can be a huge aid. Support from home care assistance can ensure your loved one gets the care that they need, without putting extra pressure on you.
If care needs are more permanent, other support, including financial might be available, and other members of your family might be willing to help, if you ask for it, so make sure to accept it when it is offered.
Focus on What You Can Do
Most caregivers at some point feel guilty. They wish they could do more to help, and this guilt is a great cause of stress and upset. The truth is, no one is the perfect carer, even those who do it professionally. None of us can provide absolutely everything that is needed all of the time.
Instead of worrying about all of the things that you can’t do, focus on what you can, and on what you are already doing, and try not to worry about the rest.
Join a Support Group
There are more carer support groups than ever before and joining one can give you understanding people to talk to, a resource for advice, and people to confide in, who will never judge. If there isn’t a support group in a convenient location, consider starting one, or make connections with other carers online.
Prioritize Your Own Health
To be the best carer you can be, you need to take care of your own health. Set yourself small, achievable goals, like eating more fruit and veg, exercising three times a week, walking more, and getting into a sleep schedule. All of these things will decrease your stress, look after your mind, and body, and improve your mood.
Looking after someone else is always going to be hard work – as much as you love them – and you want to do your best. You should always remember that you are doing your upmost, it’s okay to accept and ask for help, and that other people are grateful for you.