Identifying and managing caregiver stress

Identifying and managing caregiver stress

Caregivers are often challenged with finding a balance between their caregiving responsibilities and life outside of caregiving.

Remember that no one in this world is perfect, including you. In managing caregivers stress it is important to learn not to expect perfection from yourself 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Pressure from all sides and the stress of being a caregiver may lead to caregiver burnout if left unmanaged. Caregiver stress can have a negative impact on your physical as well as mental health and well-being, and can affect your relationships at home, work, and social circles.

The good news is that there are specific tips and techniques that can help you to manage caregiver stress. Let’s start with a few basic steps you can implement now for caregiver stress reduction.

Identifying stressors in your life

One key step to help you manage caregiver stress is to try to identify what issues are the key stressors in your life. Once you identify them, you can start addressing them. Learning how to identify these stressors, however, can be a challenging task. It will take time for you to recognize and pinpoint the exact sources of stress in your life.

Once you understand how to recognize and identify your stressors, remember that you may not be able to remove them completely. However, the most important lesson you can learn is that only you are in control of how you react to the stressors in your life.

There is no sense in using extra amounts of energy trying to control a stressor over which you have no control (e.g. the condition of the person in your care, or the doctor’s bedside manner).

Trying to control something over which you have no control is like banging your head against a wall. The wall won’t move an inch and you’ll only end up feeling more frustrated and suffering from a splitting headache!

Resist the need to be perfect

Remember that no one in this world is perfect, including you. In managing caregivers stress it is important to learn not to expect perfection from yourself 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You are not a superhero and neither are the people around you. Be kind to yourself and others, and remind yourself that no one is perfect. Doing your best is all you can ask of yourself and others. In some situations “done is better than perfect.”

Caregivers asking for help

There comes a point in all of our lives when we need help. Even the simple act of asking for help can be a stressor.  

It is important to recognize that as a caregiver, when you need help, ask, but also give yourself permission to accept help.

Caregiving is not about being a martyr. Feeling exhausted and stressed is harmful to your physical and mental health and does not help you or the person you are caring for.

Even though you may be trying as best you can to manage your caregiver stress, it is often difficult for to admit that you need assistance and to seek out support. However, it is crucial to recognize when your limits are reached and to know where to go for help.

Often, people will not offer help because they don’t know that you need support or what type of assistance you require.  How good are you at asking for help? Take the quiz.

When asking for help, be specific and positive. Tell them what your needs are so they can help you.

Taking care of yourself means taking some time for yourself!

A guaranteed way to keep yourself in a constant state of high caregiver stress and anxiety is to ignore your own physical health. Things like exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep are stress busters that can help you get manage your caregiver stress!

 

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