Becoming a caretaker is almost always a rewarding experience. Being able to care for a loved one who needs you is an enriching and satisfying feeling. However, taking on the role of permanent or even part-time caregiver for a family member or friend can quickly bring on feelings of immense stress, helplessness, anger, and fatigue. Caregiver stress is a serious issue.
It’s crucial to take the time to care for yourself when you have taken on the caregiving role. There are stress relief exercises for caregivers that, if followed, can help reduce the stress that is more than likely to occur when you feel overwhelmed and underappreciated.
A great way to get some stress relief in your life is to talk with other caregivers who can relate to your struggles. Online support groups offer caregivers a place to vent, cry, ask for advice, and just read about what others are going through. You may also want to talk to your loved one’s doctor to find out if there are actual support group meetings in your area that you could attend. Many churches offer support groups for caregivers, as there are generally many elderly folks in their congregations.
Remember, being a caregiver isn’t just about the person who needs help. You need to take care of yourself so that you don’t feel like it’s all about everyone else. Take the time that you need to pamper yourself in whatever way you desire. Get a manicure, take a hot bubble bath, schedule a massage, lay out in the sun with a good book, or whatever makes you happy and relaxed. Don’t feel guilty for including “me time” in your schedule.
Ask for Help
It’s easy to want to take on the role of full-time caregiver, especially when it is a very close relative, such as your mother or father. But it is almost impossible to do everything for someone else and still take care of yourself. Asking for help from others will reduce a great deal of stress, especially when you see that you don’t have to do it all alone. Accept help from those who offer, and don’t be afraid to ask. You can’t do it all by yourself and expect not to get stressed.
Open Your World
Consulteering (see previous DYA post), taking on small consulting gigs or volunteer assignments, give you an opportunity to remain in touch with the outside world and contribute to society. It is a great, productive distraction that also keeps you fresh with stories to bring home to the person you are caring for.
Caregiver stress is a normal occurrence—even for professionals. When you’re feeling stressed, the key is to remember that you are not alone and that there are healthy ways to cope with your feelings.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a loved one, remember that help is available. At David York Agency, we provide full and part-time support for caregivers and their families to lessen the burden of ensuring their loved one is safe, happy, and healthy.
For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need.