Being a caregiver can be quite overwhelming, especially if you’re a family caregiver balancing your work, family, and care for a loved one. It can also be very rewarding, knowing that the care you have given to this loved one is helping them age happily and healthy. However, it’s important to realize when it becomes overwhelming. If you let it build and build and build you might become ill with caregiver stress. It’s important to realize when this happens. Here are four signs that you may be experiencing caregiver stress.
Loss of Interest in Favorite Activities – If you enjoy going to the movies every Friday night or enjoy going out with friends in the middle of the week, but are finding it harder and harder to leave your house, you might be experiencing caregiver stress. The best way to beat this feeling is by talking with close friends or family members. Bottling up your emotions is never a good thing. Having a caring, loving friend who’s willing to listen to you and hold a conversation makes a world of difference. They can help you get up and start moving again. After all, it’s the things we love that make life wonderful!
Loss of Sleep – Sometimes, stress can boil up so much that you can’t turn your mind off during the night. If this occurs getting a full night’s rest does not come easy. It’s a nasty cycle, because you wear yourself out during the day, attempt to recharge yourself at night, but find that it’s impossible to sleep. Again, talking with someone helps reduce stress, but you can also try and create a sleep pattern. This helps your mind realize that now is the time to turn off. Consider it as a schedule to sleep. Perhaps you can watch your favorite show for a half hour, read a book for an hour, brush your teeth, and prepare for bed. The repetition eases your mind into sleep. Give it a try if you find yourself getting less and less sleep each night.
Frequent Headaches – It’s never a good thing when you find yourself taking Tylenol or Aspirin constantly throughout the day in order to quell any pain deriving from your head. Headaches are awful. They distract you and shut you down. It’s almost impossible to get anything done when you have one. If you’re getting them multiple times during the day or multiple times during the week, you could be suffering from caregiver stress. Everyone has their own way of dealing with excess stress, so find a good technique to reduce yours. Just know that the constant headaches could be stemming from this stress, so taking Aspirin throughout the day is not going to help much. You need to find the source of your stress and eliminate it.
Chronic Sadness – Number 1 can easily lead into number 4, chronic sadness. This should be the final straw when you know you need to do something about your caregiver stress. If you’re having a hard time finding joy in anything, you need to do something about it. Don’t blow it off like it’s some phase that you’ll get over. Stress from caregiving is a serious illness that needs to be dealt with. Caregiving is a rewarding experience. You have the opportunity to truly make a difference in someone’s life. Yes, chores and errands can add up to a large amount of stress. Yes, sometimes it might feel like you’re not making a difference in this person’s life, but you are. Your elderly loved one is much better off with your help than without it. As a result, you should never be chronically sad, but it does happen. Make sure you understand how important being a caregiver is and make sure how important you are!
If you think you may be suffering from caregiving stress, be sure to pause and take some time for yourself! Consider giving yourself a break. Read a book, see a movie, hang out with close friends. Setting aside 30 minutes for yourself each and every day can make a wonderful difference in your quality of life!
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