How to Deal with Caregiver Stress

Caregiving is an arduous task, as most of us may not have enough patience and time to care for our loved ones who are elderly, disabled, or unable to take care of themselves. However, because we love them, caring for them can often be rewarding, especially if they would always be grateful for you being there. Of course, there will be times where caregiving can be stressful, and these moments would usually come when the person being cared for is uncooperative or would say negative things about you. 

a caregiver being a guide for the elderly

However, what we need to understand is the elderly and disabled often suffer from loneliness and the constant thought that they cannot do anything significant in the world, so they would often feel anger and sadness that they would project to others. Their overwhelming sadness can sometimes be infectious, and you may soon find out that you are also affected by the cycle of anger and frustration inside your home, which could lead to caregiver stress. If ever you are experiencing caregiver stress, here are some tips to alleviate or cope with it.

Accept Help from Others

Caregiving is sometimes a task that is done by only one person, as the elderly or disabled may only be able to recognize you and thus form a connection only to you. However, there are many ways for other people to help you in your tasks, so don’t be afraid to seek help from family members or friends if ever you are having a hard time fulfilling your duties. 

You can let your loved ones take care of the laundry, clean the house with you, or just keep an eye on the person you are caring for whenever you are doing chores away from him or her. If you can’t leave home to buy important items, you can also ask your family members to buy those items or run errands for you. If your loved ones are willing to help you with your task as a caregiver, accept their assistance.

Take a Short Break

Since caregiving is mostly a 24/7 task, it would be quite difficult to find time for you to just relax and alleviate your stress. But, if someone in your family volunteered to help, you may be able to have time to take a short break while the volunteer takes care of the person you are caring for. 

Before taking breaks, you should inform the volunteer that you will use your free time to just unwind in order to alleviate your stress, and your loved one will surely understand your situation. You can take these breaks for 5 to 30 minutes depending on how tired or stressed you feel, but you can also take a break while doing easier chores like setting up alarms or arranging items in the house. The break can also be a good time to talk to your loved one that volunteered to help so you will have an outlet to express your stress. It is not wrong to relax every once in a while, especially if your job as a caregiver is a stressful one.

Have a Support Group

Having a support group is important for caregivers, as it will provide them with an outlet to express their stress, frustrations, and opinions about their job. The support group can also give you tips on how to cope with stress, as they will shed light on the importance of your task and what you can provide for the senior living in your home or your loved ones. These support groups can come in a variety of places, like the church, a meeting with family members, or an actual group dedicated to providing emotional support for caregivers. A real support group for caregivers may actually be the best option, as the members will understand your situation and may provide better tips on how to handle stress.

Take Care of Yourself

Most of the time, we focus too much on taking care of our loved ones that we don’t have enough time to care for ourselves anymore. It is important for caregivers to find time to actually take care of themselves, as an improper diet and an unhealthy body could often worsen the stress that they feel on a daily basis. 

You can take care of yourself through breaks, as mentioned above, but you also need to accompany that break with exercise and a healthy diet. You can do some exercise in the morning by doing basic exercise routines in your bedroom, or you can buy gym equipment like a treadmill or a stationary bike to have better exercise at home. As for a healthy diet, it is relatively easy to make a balanced meal since the person you are taking care of also needs it, so you can eat the same meals during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most caregivers often forget about themselves whenever they take care of someone else, so it is essential to think about yourself sometimes in order to reduce your stress.

Caregiving can be a profession, but most of the time, it is voluntary among family members. As such, some caregivers would not receive monetary rewards from taking care of the elderly. However, the reward that you can get for caregiving is much more important than money, and that is the sense of fulfillment that you are able to give plenty of love and care for a person that once done the same for you in the past.