Caring for the Caregiver
Whether you work in a professional capacity as a caregiver or have assumed a role as a caregiver for your loved, caregiver stress is real. As a caregiver you have responsibility caring for yourself but equally the responsibility of another individual as well. The daily demands of caregiving can be overwhelming and the challenges change throughout the seasons of life.
If you find yourself in a stressful season of life, it’s important to remember that in order to care for someone else, you MUST take care of yourself.
As a caregiver it is often hard to put yourself first. You are so busy with the daily tasks of who you are caring for that making time for yourself simply doesn’t exist.
It’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of stress and know how to manage it and make time for self-care to prevent burnout.
Caregiver burnout, essentially the state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, can happen due to many things. Often it is from too much stress and responsibility taken on as a caregiver. The demands on a caregiver’s body, mind, and emotions can be overwhelming which can lead to fatigue, hopelessness and finally burnout.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association the 10 Symptoms of caregiver stress:
- Social Withdrawal
- Lack of Concentration
- Health Problems
Managing the Stress
A Helping Hand
Be willing to accept help from family and friends. Having a list of things you need to get done can be helpful when someone offers to help. They can choose something from the list to help with. Even if it is just picking up your groceries that will make a difference in your stress level.
Seek support from professionals. Consulting with a care manager, consultant or advisor who is familiar with the disease present in your loved one can help you navigate the disease process. They may also be able to identify local, community resources that me be beneficial to you and your loved one.
Many communities offer wonderful resources for caregivers. Joining a support group not only provides validation and encouragement, it gives you that much needed break. People in support groups understand what you are going through and can be a great way to make meaningful friendships. Educate yourself on the disease present in your loved one. This can help you understand the daily challenges and give you tools to make life easier for both of you.
Self-Care & Personal Goals
Take time for yourself without feeling guilty; keyword without feeling guilty. This can be challenging and can take time. Knowing that by taking a break and taking time for yourself to recharge, you will be more rested which can result in a more patient, attentive caregiver. Set health and wellness goals and drink plenty of water. Get a good night’s sleep. If you are struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, give essential oils a try. Lavender essential oil is said to help reduce anxiety, relax you and improve sleep quality.