HELP! I AM SO STRESSED OUT!!Posted: October 29, 2020, 1:09PM
Caregiving is difficult. Unless you are or have been a caregiver, you may not realize how every aspect of your life is affected by that role.
As we wind our way through this pandemic, many caregivers are sharing how much the isolation is impacting them. In the best of times, providing care to someone can wear you down and make you feel so alone. Sleep may be affected. Work may be affected. Relationships may be affected.
In today's world, we worry about our care receiver's health and our own. We worry about job security. We worry about paying our bills, putting food on the table, affording our meds. And, we are affected by the separation that we are practicing to remain safe and well but the isolation is having an impact on our mental well-being.
For those who are providing care at home, you may not be in contact with your usual support systems so even those periods of joy and togetherness have been reduced or cut out entirely.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU'RE MEGA-STRESSED?
Are you on the verge of tears or crying regularly?
Do you over-react to common (probably unimportant) situations?
Are you smoking more? Biting your nails? Over-eating? Sleeping more or feeling overly fatigued?
Is your thinking scattered?
WHO IS AT RISK?
The family caregiver - prolonged stress may increase the chance of developing a serious illness
The caregiver's family - our stress levels impact how we interact with our family
The caregiver's employer and co-workers - Stress can affect our productivity and the quality of our work. Are we missing work, coming in late, leaving early?
The care receiver - the stressed out caregiver may lack the patience and clear thinking to handle the needs of the care receiver. We may be short or inattentive.
WHAT CAN HELP?
Take regular breaks. Try to get away or distance yourself from caregiving daily.
Find an outlet - Vent your frustration, guilt or other feelings to a friend, a support group, your pastor, a therapist or your pet.
Try some of the following:
Join a support group - there are virtual support groups and there are also support pages on Facebook and other social media, take a walk around the neighborhood, read (there are also audio books that you can listen to from your phone or computer), meditate, pray, do yoga, play your favorite music, have a Zoom meeting with family and friends, or check out podcasts that are available. Remember your happy place and 'go there' in your mind. It may be the beach, the mountains, or your back yard. Have a cup of tea (decaf).
It is so important to take care of ourselves as we provide care. During this time, it is even more important. Find something that interests you and pursue it! Find something that calms you.
And - don't forget to BREATHE.
[Sources: AKoegler, www.caregiving.com]
Photo: A Koegler