When Caregiving Sparks Stress Instead of Joy, What Can You Do?
When caregiving sparks stress instead of joy, what can you do about it? That’s a question I began mulling over since I posted a survey on my website about stress and compassion fatigue in caregivers way back in 2019.
Within 2 days, the survey had been completed 500 times. Less than a month later, that number had risen to almost 1, 500. This was a full year before COVID and the pandemic reared their ugly heads. Keep that in mind while you read through the statistic below.
- 98% of the caregivers said their duties cause extra stress in their daily lives.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, the average stress level of parents was 6.4.
- 91% said caregiving has affected their mental health.
- 87% said caregiving has affected their physical health.
Further analysis can be found the Different Dream website.
To borrow a phrase from Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the statistics show that caregiving is sparking as much stress as joy in parents raising kids with special needs. Which is why I’ve been pondering the question posed earlier: when caregiving sparks stress instead of joy, what can you do about it?
Look for Signs of Post-Traumatic Growth
One thing we can do is remember that traumatic and stressful events can lead to positive outcomes. Researchers Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun refer to this phenomenon as post traumatic growth.
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Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream series for parents of kids with special needs. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. She’s also the creator and host of the Different Dream website. Sharing Love Abundantly with Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and at Amazon. The first book in her cozy mystery series, See Jane Run!, features people with disabilities.
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