Being a caregiver is a rewarding but sometimes stressful job. Whether you are a professional or a family member, this position can take a toll on your mind and body. This is an important job that can sometimes be a 24/7 responsibility. With the long hours and tasks it requires, a large amount of stress can be placed on a caregiver. To alleviate some of this, you should first know the signs of caregiver stress. Some stress signals include:
- Feeling overwhelmed, worried, or sad
- Easily irritable
- Feeling alone or isolated
- Headaches or body aches
- Weight gain or loss
- Irregular sleeping
It’s important to be aware of these symptoms because if not taken care of, stress can start to affect your health. Depression, anxiety, a weakened immune system, and a higher risk for chronic diseases are all health issues that can arise because of stress.
To prevent this from happening, here are ways to reduce caregiver stress.
Ask for Help
This seems like an obvious solution but to some, this is actually difficult to do. Asking for help will take a big weight off of your shoulders and give you a little room to slow down and relax. If you are a hired caregiver, ask the company to send another to assist you and if you are family, think about asking another member to help. Don’t feel defeated by asking for help, you are actually doing yourself and your loved one a favor by bringing someone else in to take some of your responsibilities.
Take Care of your Health
When you are taking care of someone else, it’s easy to put your own health on the back burner. It’s okay if the person you are caring for becomes your priority, but you still need to take care of yourself. Unhealthy habits can put more stress on your body. Start by getting the right amount of sleep. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours a night. Sleeping too much and not sleeping enough can be harmful to your health.
Exercising is a good way to benefit your health but is also an easy way to relieve stress. The recommended amount of exercise for a healthy individual is 150 minutes a week. On top of sleeping and exercising, you should be eating healthy. Skipping meals or overeating can be very unhealthy and will put added stress on your body. Prepare healthy meals and snacks for you and your loved one to live a healthy lifestyle.
Have a Support System
Some of the signs of stress are feeling overwhelmed and lonely. To help this, you need a support system. Getting the right kind of support can be different for everyone. Some people may reach out to friends and family for support, some may want to go to a support group for caregivers, and some may look for an online forum or group for support. The way you find support doesn’t matter but having someone to lean on when your feeling stressed will make a huge difference in your life.
Take Time Off
It’s time for a day off! Everyone needs to give themselves a break once in a while to relax and relieve some stress. Take this opportunity for a self-care day, whether you spend it at the spa or at home, this is a well deserved day off. While you take the opportunity to de-stress, ask a family member to cover for you. There are also medical alert devices and mobile apps that can help relieve some of the caregiver stress.
Caregivers are an important part of a seniors life. Whether it’s part-time or 24/7 care, caregivers are much appreciated. Here at BlueStar SeniorTech, we help alleviate some of the caregiver stress with medical alert devices. These devices help take away some of the worries that a caregiver might have. To get your medical alert device, visit our website or call a product specialist at (800)-300-1724, option 1.