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
Photo of Rosalee Berlin

Rosalee Berlin

Rosalee is a Geriatric Nurse Consultant, who was a teacher since 1982, working at Baycrest for 13 years. See Rosalee’s full bio on our team page.