Caregiver Stressors and Solutions

We are all aware of the risk of burnout for caregivers. Many times this is due to stressful situations that could be handled in different ways. This blog will introduce you to some facts about stress and its effects. You will also learn some beginning steps to take to deal with your stress.

Stress affects us in many ways. Some people are more physical reactors, and some are more emotional reactors. And, of course, there are people that have both reactions equally. Look at the list below. Which are you?

Physical Reactions

Grinding teeth at night.

Insomnia sweating.

Frequent need to urinate

Digestive upset.

Migraine headaches

Pain in the neck or lower back.

Loss of or excessive appetite.

Psychological reactions

General irritability, hyper excitation or depression.

The overpowering urge to cry or run and hide.

Inability to concentrate.

Anxiety, tension and alertness.

Nightmares.

Emotional instability.

Increased use of drugs like nicotine, alcohol and illegal substances.

Many times our stress reaction is determined by our own perception of what our roles are in life. You may be a caregiver in more ways than one. Not only are you caring for someone professionally, but you also may be the caregiver at home and with all of your friends. Think about how often you are the one who takes responsibility for almost everything. Are you the one that does all the household chores? Are you the main caregiver of children? Amongst your family and friends, are you the one that everybody turns to when it’s time to organize a party, or a memorial service, for everything?Here are some ways to adopt a positive outlook and change your perceptions:

Laugh! Almost every disaster has something funny in it.

Relax rigid  schedules. Would it really matter if the lawn didn’t get cut this weekend

Surrender! Let go of the same old gripes and complaints. Accept things for what they are.

Change unavoidable delays into productive time by carrying a book to read, do a puzzle, etc. 

Examine the situation. Will this really matter to you in a year? How about tomorrow? Is it worth the aggravation?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Everyone makes mistakes.

Remember that you are important, too. Your personal time is valuable to your well-being.

Avoid negative self talk. It can be very damaging.

Watch out for misinterpretation of situations. We may create a problem for one that does not exist.

Remember you have an element of control over your stress. If you do not view the situation of an event as a problem you will not experience stress. Try to judge events for what they really are and take it easy on yourself!