15 Practical Ways To Relieve Caregiver Stress When Caring for Aging Parents
Caregiver stress has become a very common thing for most caregivers in recent times. Although care giving is definitely fulfilling and rewarding, it can be really challenging and difficult too, often resulting in caregiver burnout. So, obtaining stress from the job has become largely apparent in the industry.
- 1 Understanding Caregiver Stress
- 2 Relieving Caregiver Stress
- 3 Remember: Care Starts with Compassion and Empathy
- 4 Learn Better Ways to Help Your Loved One
- 5 Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
- 6 Don’t Forget to Take Time for Yourself
- 7 Shake Off The Stress
- 8 Get Moving
- 9 Be a Realistic Caregiver
- 10 Get Connected with Various Caregivers Communities
- 11 Learn To Take A Break and Breathe
- 12 Count To 10
- 13 Carry The “Never Give Up” Attitude
- 14 Carry A Beautiful Smile 24/7
- 15 Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself Too
- 16 Be Kind and Polite
- 17 Applaud Your Own Efforts
- 18 In Conclusion
Understanding Caregiver Stress
The stress that most caregivers experience nowadays is due to the physical and emotional challenges of caregiving. At times, it can be very overwhelming, especially to those who are just starting yet a career out of it. In fact, various reports from the industry state that caregivers experience much higher levels of stress in comparison to those who have other jobs and career out of caregiving.
This is apparently not good as it only provides adverse effects to the caregivers of the community, especially to their health and wellness.
Relieving Caregiver Stress
Quite naturally, relieving this kind of stress is a must. Keep in mind that one cannot provide and give care to others if one does not know how to care for one’s self first. So, first and foremost, caregivers must take good care of themselves in order to provide the same quality care to others.
If you are experiencing the so-called caregiver stress, and you can no longer function in your work properly, here are the top 15 practical ways that you can do to relieve caregiver stress:
Remember: Care Starts with Compassion and Empathy
One of the most essential things that you can do to relieve stress and effectively provide care is to empathize first with yourself before going outside your own circle. This is essential as being compassionate and empathetic to your own self will allow you to learn which are the aspects that you need to focus on.
Keep in mind that self-care is not easy. But you must very much be aware of this as you cannot provide care to others if you do not know how to take good care of yourself. This is why many retirement communities only get caregivers who are very much particular of self-care.
Learn Better Ways to Help Your Loved One
Attending caregiver schools and institutions is a requirement before you can be a licensed caregiver. But it is worth noting that learning and growing do not only revolve around schools and books.
You have to understand that in taking good care of others, especially your loved ones, you have to learn better and much more effective ways. Besides, one’s condition is always far different from the others’. Hence, you must be really eager to learn new ways. You may choose to research more, attend additional schooling years, read more books, or even join caregiving communities.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. As it happens, asking for help, assistance, and guidance is just normal. It’s even an indication that you are flexible and strong. And even if you are a caregiver, asking help is just fitting and suitable.
You should not hesitate when you need one for this will help you totally fulfill what is needed to be accomplished. Although pushing yourself to the limit can be also beneficial at times, you must not always push yourself wherein you’ll just stress yourself out. This will only cause you to experience a burn out which will not be beneficial to you and to the ones you are taking care of.
Don’t Forget to Take Time for Yourself
Just like any person who have regular jobs and career, caregivers should take time for themselves. This is a necessity, in fact, for everyone. As it happens, taking a day off is just a way of giving yourself some time to breathe from all the stress and negativities. It will allow you to refocus and reenergize for a whole new day of caregiving. Hence, if you have the chance and opportunity to take time for yourself, go ahead and grab it.
And in the instance that there are a lot of things that are currently on your plate, then set aside sometime for yourself. This is also a way of relieving caregiver stress.
Shake Off The Stress
Aside from taking time for yourself, another way to relieve the stress from caregiving is to actually shake it all off. Ensure that you spend quality time for yourself and with your loved ones. You may also want to pick up your hobby and interest. You can also take time to pamper or treat yourself. Whatever you choose to in order to make the stress go away, do it as long as it will help you holistically.
When you are taking care of others, the tendency of being busy is pretty high. And when you experience the tremendous stress that the job entails, then you must always get moving. Ensure that you spend your busy schedule wisely. And even if your plate is full, make sure that you stay on top of your to-do list.
Whatever the situation that you are facing, keep in mind that allowing yourself to get moving all the time will naturally decrease the stress levels and make you relieve or even eliminate the stress that you have.
Be a Realistic Caregiver
Stressful situations almost always happen to caregivers if they are unrealistic. Keep in mind that the people that you are taking care of are not variables that you can control. The same is true for the conditions that they have and the impacts of these conditions. And thinking that you can control these aspects will only cause too much stress.
Accordingly, you have to be very realistic in the sense that you understand what are the things that can only be controlled. Even so, you can still be positive despite the fact of being realistic.
Get Connected with Various Caregivers Communities
Another great way to relieve the stress of being a caregiver is to actually establish ties with other caregivers in the community. This is because you can share your own experiences and situations to the individuals that can fully understand where you are coming from.
It is very notable that the people who can fully understand you will help you through the process of relieving the stress. Not only that can help you in these aspects, but they also support you. And having the right kind of support system is almost always enough to get through the apparent stress.
Learn To Take A Break and Breathe
In relation to taking time for yourself, you must also learn to take a break every now and then. This is not necessarily a whole day off or a whole weekend away. Small breaks in between your working hours will do. This is because small breaks will allow you to pause for a moment and breathe out all the stresses that are intending to incur. So, make sure that you take small breaks no matter how busy the situation is.
Count To 10
In every decision and thought, counting one up to ten is a technique that most experts recommend to people, especially to caregivers. This is because the time that you would alot for the counting period will help you think through things. In a way, this can also serve as a quick break for your mind, brain, and thoughts. In addition, this will give you much clearer thoughts and mindset, especially when making decisions.
Carry The “Never Give Up” Attitude
If you visit several Alzheimer’s care facilities for seniors, you would notice that all caregivers in these communities are very patient. Apparently, patience is one of the most important traits that any caregiver should have. Similarly, the “never give up” attitude must also be very apparent as this is essential as well.
There are times that the people that you are taking care of will cause stressful situations for you. But if you have this kind of attitude wherein you never give up and try to be patient as much as possible, your perception and outlook will not be affected.
Carry A Beautiful Smile 24/7
Smiling (and laughing!) is one of the most helpful techniques that you can do to relieve stress. If you are to stay delighted, happy, and positive, it will be difficult for stress to overpower you. But if in the instance that you are already in the stage of relieving the stress of caregiving, carrying a smile with you every day will help you get through the process.
As it happens, people who smile all the time are found to be much calmer and more peaceful. Also, they are found to be much less stressed.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself Too
As a caregiver, you must not forget to take good care of yourself. This is highly essential as this will be a factor to your stress level. Keep in mind that the less you give time and value to yourself, the higher the chance of experiencing stress during the time that you take care of others.
So, as mentioned, taking care of yourself must be your one of the top priorities.
Be Kind and Polite
If you are taking care of seniors and elderly individuals, the challenges may be much more difficult. But nevertheless, you must always be kind and polite. By doing so, you are allowing yourself to experience a much calmer and more peaceful situation. And when this kind of environment is largely present, the chance of experiencing stress when caring for others is at an all-time low.
As for when relieving stress when caring for your patients and loved ones, being kind and polite will also help you get through the stress.
Applaud Your Own Efforts
When you are taking care of others, you must also assure yourself that you are doing a great job. This is a must in order for you to appreciate your value and worth. And even if you have a long day ahead of you, in terms of your path in respect with career choices, applauding your own efforts will already pay it all off. The challenges and struggles of being a caregiver will be all worth it.
Caregiver stress has become a very common thing for most caregivers in recent times. Although caregiving is definitely fulfilling and rewarding, it can be really challenging and difficult too. So, obtaining stress from the job has become largely apparent in the industry.
In the end, relieving caregiver stress is essentially dependent on your own choices, decisions, and plans of actions. And if you are looking for the most effective ways, these 15 practical steps will help you get going and live the stress-free caregiver life.
This post was written by Holly Klamer. She loves to write on issues related to memory care facilities for seniors, assisted and senior living and retirement and is a frequent contributor on many blogs and online publications