The 10 Steps to Become A Stress-Free Caregiver

  • April 1, 2019
The 10 Steps to Become A Stress-Free Caregiver

The reality of being a caregiver for an aging loved one can be remarkably stressful. Between the daily stress of managing your own life, and the added stress of caring for an older parent, caregiver burnout can hit hard unless you make an effort to focus on stress relief.

Avoid Caregiver Burnout

Caregivers tend to become so involved in their loved one’s well-being that they neglect to care for themselves. Not taking the time to tend to your own needs is what leads to caregiver burnout—exhaustion, depression, irritability, mood swings, and a weakened immune system.

Recognizing caregiver burnout is not always easy. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “burnout can occur when caregivers don't get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able—either physically or financially. Many caregivers also feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than on their ill or elderly loved ones.” There are many different factors that contribute to caregiver burnout, including role confusion, unrealistic expectations, lack of control and unreasonable demands from a parent.

Achieve Stress Relief For Caregivers

The question then becomes how can you, as a caregiver, relieve the stress from your life? Here are some great tips to create more stress relief for caregivers:

  1. Take Daily Breaks. Make sure you allow yourself a little bit of time every day to relax. Even if it’s only taking 30 minutes to sit and watch your favorite television show, chat with a friend, read a book, or take a bubble bath.

  2. Indulge In Weekly Breaks. Don’t put your entire life on hold as a caregiver. Choose at least one day each week where you spend the day focusing on your own needs and your happiness.

  3. Hire Helpers. The best stress relief for caregivers is more time, and hiring professional caregivers to give you some respite will do just that.

  4. Exercise. We all know that a healthy mind needs a healthy body. Be sure to exercise regularly to lower your stress levels and keep yourself healthy! The hormones that are released when you exercise are the best natural ways to cure stress.

  5. Eat A Healthy Diet. A healthy diet will give you the most energy for extra caregiving support. Eating foods that are nutrient-dense can keep you feeling your best, and make sure that your immune system can keep working properly.

  6. Sleep More. Everything suffers when you don’t sleep enough—your attitude, your cognitive function, your health, and your patience. Be sure to get enough sleep in order to be fully energized and ready to help your loved one.

  7. Depend on Caregiver Support Groups. Despite what you may feel at times, you are not alone. Join a local caregiver support group to help get you through the tough times. A support community is also an excellent resource for you should an emergency arise.

  8. Talk to Professional Care Managers. We all want the best care possible for our loved ones. Geriatric Care Managers will help ensure that your loved one truly is getting the best care.

  9. Talk To An Attorney. Elder Law Attorneys can make these financial situations a bit easier to navigate and less stressful. They can also help protect you and your loved ones from being vulnerable to bad decision making.

  10. Ask For Help. Your community can be more helpful than you think. Reach out to volunteers in your area and you may be pleasantly surprised with the caregiver support system that you discover.

Enlist More Help

Caregiving is no easy task, but with the right guidance to care for oneself, life may be a bit less stressful. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. One way for caregivers to achieve more peace of mind and less stress is by investing in a medical alert device for their loved ones.

A medical alert system can ensure that your loved one still has access to help in an emergency even when you are not with them. Stress relief for caregivers isn’t always easy, but by taking the time to invest emotionally, physically and financially in your well being, will also benefit your loved one’s well being in the end.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hilary Young is a health and wellness expert that specializes in both senior life and caregiving. She'd love to hear more about your thoughts on aging, healthy living, and caregiving, and you can find her on Twitter at @hyoungcreative to start the conversation.

KEYWORDS: stress relief for caregivers, caregiver burnout, caregiver support, avoid caregiver burnout

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