Keeping Stress in Check

If you’re a caregiver, you know that stress can be a real problem. Stress can cause an individual to feel overwhelmed, depressed, angry, or exhausted. But it can also hinder cognitive function – causing you to perform your daily duties or work at a rate less than your best. Stress can also significantly reduce your health by impairing your immune system, causing you to eat poorly, and by upsetting your sleeping patterns.

Caregivers are responsible not only for themselves, but someone else, which is why it’s important to a caregiver to be capable of managing the stress that can often come along with the nature of caregiving. Here are some tips that anyone can practice daily to keep stress in check:

  1. Eat right – Although your stressed brain is craving all the bad things, eating what your body really needs will help to regulate hormones and emotions.
  2. Tune in – Music is a proven mood-booster. Turn on something that makes you feel great.
  3. Stop – When it all feels too much in the moment, stop for  a moment. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and give yourself time to settle down before continuing.
  4. Exercise – Even if it’s just half an hour, getting out for some exercise every day is a great way to keep your spirits up, regulate stress, and stay healthy.
  5. Call a friend – Whether you need to unload your troubles, or just chat about the latest, talking to someone you care about can lift your mood.
  6. Have a quiet space – It’s not against the rules to have a space that is only just for you. A space in your home that you can go to when you need an escape has been reported by many caregivers to be a real aid in times of stress.
  7. Be realistic – Are stressful days becoming the norm for you? Is it getting worse? You might need to consider that you can no longer do this alone. Maybe you need a break, or maybe you need someone else. Track your progress as a caregiver over time and make note of how you are feeling. If things are going downhill for you, do not accept that as normal.