Nurses’ Notes – Practical, Helpful Tips for Caregivers
Tips for Coping with Caregiver Stress
As a caregiver, you may be so focused on your loved one that you don’t realize that your own health and well-being are suffering.
Watch for these signs of caregiver stress:
- Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried and anxious about the future and facing another day
- Feeling tired. Exhaustion makes completing necessary daily tasks almost impossible e.g. cleaning the house, shopping, cooking
- Difficulty sleeping or too much sleep
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Irritability and or increased anger toward loved one
- Social isolation: withdrawal from friends and activities that you used to make you feel good
- Feeling profound sadness that affects your ability to cope. “I just don’t care anymore”
- Health problems: frequent headaches, stomach pains, lack of appetite, indigestion, nausea etc.
Strategies for Coping with Caregiver Stress
- Keep a positive attitude. Focus on what you are able to control.
- Accept help from friends and family.
- Set realistic goals, prioritize, make lists, and break tasks into smaller steps you can do one at a time. Say no to requests that create excessive stress e.g. hosting a holiday party
- Learn and practice relaxation techniques. Try meditation, yoga, breathing exercises
- Exercise regularly-Go walking, go to the gym or swim. A fit body fights stress better.
- Eat healthy well-balanced meals and drink plenty of water
- Find time for yourself. Partake in hobbies and personal interests. Spend quality time with those family and friends you enjoy even just for a walk or cup of tea
- Allow time to rest and get enough sleep
- Join a support group. People in support groups understand what you are going through
- Seek professional help from mental health personnel if the stress continues, is unremitting and leads to physical and psychological problems