Being a caregiver is hard work. Not only do you have your own responsibilities but you also take on the added responsibility of someone else, adding both emotional and physical stress to your everyday life. In fact, according to a Home Instead Senior Care survey, 31% of caregivers admit that they would like more help. It is important that caregivers remember to take care of themselves. The first step in doing so is to recognize the physical signs of stress:
- Disturbed sleep
- Back, shoulder or neck pain, muscle tension
- Stomach or digestive problems
- Weight fluctuation
- Weakend immune system
- Skin disorders such as hives, eczema or itching
There are also emotional signs including:
- Mood swings
- Memory problems and lack of concentration
- Job dissatisfaction
If you notice that you are experiencing some of the signs listed above, consider talking with your healthcare provider to further evaluate your situation. There are many resources to help you care for yourself and to help you find further care for those you are helping. In these videos, Mary Alexander of Home Instead of Senior Care teaches how to balance work and in-home care.
Make sure you find time for yourself. This will give you the energy needed to weather stress and you can become more reliable for those that depend on you. Here are some other tips while taking care of others:
- Work out – exercise
- Ask for help when needed – 72% of caregivers do so without outside help. To avoid burnout and further stress enlist the help of others.
- Take a break
- Eat well – fruits, veggies and proteins
- Keep your medical appointments – make sure to get your annual check-ups.
- Indulge – treat yourself to a massage or a nice dinner away from the situation and to reward yourself
- Support – find a local caregiver support group
Information from CaregiverStress.com