Helping to care for a loved one is bound to take an emotional toll on an individual, thus it’s no surprise that caregiver stress is something far more common than one might expect. Studies have shown that one in three caregivers would say they’re stressed out, and half have said that they’ve been unable to spend time with friends and family.
It’s critical that as a caregiver, you put yourself first at times, to ensure that you don’t wind up dealing with exhaustion, health issues and worse off, total burnout. So how do you go about dealing with experiencing caregiver stress? Firstly, you must understand that if you’ve ever felt like clenching your fists and screaming in frustration, you’re not alone. Here are some tips to coping with these strong emotions.
Tip One: Forgive yourself
Nobody’s perfect and you shouldn’t beat yourself up because of that. You shouldn’t expect yourself to maintain a perfectly patient attitude 24/7-it’s physically impossible. If you experience impatience or anger, the first thing you should do is forgive yourself.
Rather than beating yourself up for one outburst, pat yourself on the back for the thousand times you’ve been patient and given your loved one/s the loving care they need. Caregiver stress is something that should be acknowledged and tackled, so you needn’t send yourself on a guilt trip for actually feeling such sentiments.
Tip Two: Get something to eat
Your meltdown might occur when you’re hungry. Facile as it may seem, caregiver stress can be triggered by a number of different factors. It’s good to know that low blood sugar that occurs when you haven’t eaten for a few hours can impair your coping abilities. You might be able to help yourself and your loved one avoid a meltdown by eating regular healthy meals.
Tip Three: Let your anger out
Even though this seems somewhat contradictory, sometimes venting out your rage might be just what you need to assuage caregiver stress. If you’re close to breaking point, go ahead and scream into or punch a pillow. Consider involving yourself in exercise. Physical activity is a proven mood booster so it’ll surely help in reducing your stress and anger levels.
Tip Four: Take Time Off
Anger and impatience often stem from exhaustion. Care-giving can drain your mental and physical strength. Taking some time away from care-giving will benefit both you and your loved one.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, don’t feel guilty if you experience any negative emotions during your care-giving journey. Acknowledging these feelings is probably the best thing you can do. Take care of yourself first and foremost, because this is of utmost importance. Although this might seem selfish at face value, your loved one/s rely on you and you won’t be able to help them if you’re physically and emotionally exhausted yourself.
Consider putting your loved one into respite care for a day to give yourself some time to regain your energy and patience. If you’re looking for reliable respite care, contact HILA today to see what we can offer to benefit both you and your loved one, we’ll gladly provide you with the neccessary support and information about our respite services.