Are You Stressed?
Chronic illness can take it’s toll on anyone, and that includes caregivers. There is a high rate of burnout for people who spend a lot of their time caring for someone with a chronic illness. Part of the reason for that burnout is because caregivers don’t always allow themselves to take the time that they need to unwind and de-stress.
Take a Break
The first thing that you need to understand as a caregiver is that you’re allowed to give yourself a break. In fact it’s vital that you allow yourself a break. If you don’t, then you’re likely going to end up in a situation where you have a chronic illness yourself. Stress can lead to many health problems—and you want to avoid all of them.
Surround yourself with a support system. Don’t try to do this alone. Even if you can’t get out of the house for some reason, you can have the people who support you come to you. Look for people that are going to help you laugh, because laughter relieves stress better than almost anything there is out there.
There are ways that you can get time for yourself. Homecare companies have caregivers who are trained to help relieve some of your caregiver stress. These people provide care for a living and are ready to help when you need them. They are a huge asset to those caring for someone with a long term chronic illness. If you let them, they can also help teach you different ways to do things—which can ease your load a little.
The stress that you feel can also influence the quality of care you provide. If you find that you’re starting to lose your patience with the person you are caring for or the people around you, take a walk. As much as laughter is the best medicine, exercise is a close second. It increases endorphins that allow the body to feel better and helps burn off stress. It’s harder to be frustrated when you’re tired from exercise.
You Are Not Alone!
Whatever you chose to do as a caregiver to help reduce stress, remember that you do have options. Remember that you don’t have to go through any of this alone. There are people who can help you, places you can go, and things that you can do to take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, then eventually you won’t be able to take care of anyone.