10 Caregiver Stress Busters
Being a caregiver is stressful. You have many responsibilities and balancing your needs with your loved one’s can be difficult. As the family caregiver, it’s important to recognize that you are not alone. You can find help and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it. If the stress of caregiving is getting to you try some of these stress buster tips.
There’s an App for That! Technology can be a huge help to caregivers. Online calendars and scheduling tools can make it easier to manage appointments, medication reminders and other important tasks. You can use social media and the internet to find groups of other caregivers who can offer advice and support when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Stay Active. While you may feel like all you do is stay active, it’s important to spend a bit of time exercising each day. Exercise can reduce stress and keep you healthy. Take your loved one for a walk each day. You’ll both enjoy the fresh air and change in your routine. If possible, consider hiring a home care services provider to give you a chance to get away to the gym or for a run.
Create a Gratitude Journal. It can be difficult to stay positive when your plate is so full. Take a few minutes each day to write down 3 or 4 things you are grateful for. A beautiful sunny day. The opportunity to take a nap. Your own children. Keeping your focus on the positive things can make a big difference.
Take A Break. It’s tempting to use the time when your loved one is napping to catch up with housework or other chores. Consider taking that time to do something for you. Read a book. Prepare a favorite meal. Watch that favorite show that’s been on the DVR for months. It’s ok to take a break and do something for yourself.
Choose Healthy Snacks. While it can be tempting to dive for the cookies when you’re hungry, consider opting for healthy snacks. Pistachios are a low calorie, high fiber, low fat snack. Almonds, fruits and vegetables are also great options that will keep you healthy and energized.
Plan Ahead. Making dinner can be stressful at the end of a long day. It’s tempting to grab a bowl of cereal or to order a pizza. If you plan ahead and make meals you can freeze, you’ll be more likely to eat healthy. Consider making extra spaghetti sauce so you can freeze it in individual containers. Stews, soups and lasagna are also great meals that can be made in bulk and frozen for later use.
Don’t Rush. Stress often causes us to rush through tasks. Remember to take a deep breath and to slow down. Rushing through tasks can cause accidents and mistakes.
Sleep. Many caregivers find sleep to be an elusive friend. Try darkening your room and removing distractions. Turn off the TV 30 minutes before you plan to go to bed to minimize the effects of light and sound. Sleeping better will help you be a better caregiver.
Meditate. A recent UCLA study showed that 12 minutes a day of meditation produced marked improvement on caregiver mental health. Repeating a simple mantra during meditation can help you feel better and approach the day with a new perspective.
Ask for Help. You are not alone. Hiring a home care services agency to provide regular respite care is a great idea for family caregivers. It provides you with the opportunity to get away and enjoy your favorite activities. “Our home care services professionals provide the much needed assistance family caregivers need. Respite care is always provided on our client’s schedule. We’ll be there when you need us,” explains Larry Meigs, President and CEO of Visiting Angels.
If you’re feeling the effects of your role as a caregiver, it’s ok to ask for help. Whether that help comes from other family members or from a home care services agency like Visiting Angels, the important thing is that you are able to provide the best care for your loved one. Take care of yourself so you can be a better caregiver.