Caregiver stress affects even the most dedicated family members caring for loved ones. Yesterday, Dr. Charles Bowers, a retired OB/GYN, defined caregiver stress syndrome and lists its symptoms. Today, in Part 2, he offers suggestions about how to cope with the syndrome and points the way to useful resources.
How to Beat Caregiver Stress Syndrome, Part 2
How to Cope with Caregiver Stress Syndrome
Now that you have a name associated with what you may be experiencing, you may have an instant feeling of relief. That’s a great start! Next, it’s time to manage caregiver stress syndrome so that you can better deal with its symptoms — and hopefully reduce or eradicate them.
The following practice tips and ideas are important to help you get the relief you need and take better care of yourself.
- Learn to ask for help. Don’t try to do it all yourself. Asking for help lets others know you want their help. It also gives you an opportunity to step away for an hour or two to take care of yourself. Consider hiring outside help, too.
- Learn to accept the help that is offered. If you’re not ready to ask for help outright, at least accept help when offered AND be grateful for the break. Whether it’s one night a week, one hour a day, or every other week for a night, it’s helpful to get assistance sometimes.
- Utilize a caregiver notebook. A caregiver notebook, such as the one found here at The Center for Children at Seattle’s Children with Special Needs, can help you become more organized in your caregiving. It can help you keep track of medications, doctor’s appointments, contacts, and more. Being more organized with the seemingly endless medications, doctor’s appointments, and insurance information is helpful in reducing your caregiver stress.
- Join a support group. It helps to know that others feel the way you do. Others who are filling similar shoes may also share helpful and invaluable tips for dealing with the stress of caregiving.
- Make time for your spouse, children, siblings, friends, and extended family. Make plans to do something fun with friends or family members at least once per month, if not more frequently. It’s important for your emotional health.
- Write in a caregiver journal. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists says that it is another outlet for expressing hopes, sadness, and thanks.
- Visit your doctor. Your doctor can recommend immunizations and vitamins to help you keep up with the emotional and physical demands of all the roles you’re required to play as a caregiver for a special needs child.
- Create reasonable expectations. Last, but not least, be willing to be imperfect and simply do the best you can. Accept the fact that you might not do everything perfectly, but you are providing excellent care for your loved one.
Besides implementing the above tips for beating caregiver stress syndrome, be sure to take advantage of those moments you have to renew and re-energize. It is not only important for your own physical and emotional health, but your loved one will indirectly reap the benefits.
How Do You Deal With Stress?
Now that you’ve heard what Dr. Bowers had to stay, it’s your turn. How do you deal with care giver stress syndrome? Leave a comment in the box below.
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