Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress

Family responsibilities coupled with work responsibilities can leave you vulnerable to stress. It is encouraging to remember that stress can be beneficial and stress can be controlled. Understanding the stress in your life can help you cope.

What Stresses You?

Ask yourself questions about what really troubles you at home and at work. Determine which ones can be changed.

Stress Can Be Good.

You can choose to make stress useful. “Good” stress is really stored-up energy, giving you the motivation and drive you need to meet the next challenge.

How Do You Spend Your Time?

Set priorities among your tasks. Allow some flexibility in your planning, including time for interruptions. Give yourself permission to let go of items lower on the priority scale. No one can “do it all”.

Give Yourself Some Credit.

You are doing the best you can, given the circumstances, and that’s all anyone can do. Establish realistic goals.

Reward Yourself.

Plan a break from your ordinary routine, whether it’s to go shopping, take a long hot bath, get a massage, or some other treat. Promise yourself this break, work toward it, and KEEP YOUR PROMISE by actually following through.

Learn To Say “No”.

People sometimes take on more than their share of work because they feel it is their duty. You have a right to control your time.

Create “Private” Time For Yourself.

Everyone needs a regular time to recharge. This could be early morning hours before the hectic activities of the day begin, or any portion of the day when you catch up on routine tasks such as reading the mail or the newspaper – uninterrupted.

Learn To Relax.

Being able to unwind is critical to reducing stress. Regular physical activity such as walking, jogging, tennis, or any other aerobic exercise is an important way to work through frustrations and burn off excess energy. You’ll sleep more soundly and handle stress more easily too.

Seek Support.

Ask friends and family for assistance with tasks whenever possible.

It’s OK To Complain Or Let Off Steam.

Find yourself a willing listener, or go to a support group, and talk about your fears, anxieties, frustrations or anger. Letting your feelings out in a safe environment helps. It’s like the safety valve on a pressure cooker.

Looking for more help? Springwell’s Caregiver Support Program may be able to help.