5 Stress Relief Tips for Caregivers
To be effective caregivers, individuals in the role of providing care for loved ones also need to take care of themselves.
Being a caregiver for a loved one can be gratifying, but it’s not easy. The shift in family roles coupled with the extra demands on your time and energy can be very stressful, making stress relief for caregivers essential.
“Many caregivers end up feeling anxious, frustrated, exhausted or depressed,” says Kristi Webster, RN, a case manager at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital.
When stress spirals out of control, it not only puts your own health and well-being at risk; it also hampers your ability to be at your best for your loved one. So taking care of yourself is what’s best for both of you. Here are five stress relief tips for caregivers.
Reach out to others.
Stay in touch with family and friends. Consider joining a support group for caregivers. “Realizing that you’re not the only one dealing with the same issues helps you feel less isolated,” says Jim Jones, PhD, RN, system-wide director of Care Management for Cone Health.
Be physically active.
Schedule time on your calendar for exercise, and keep the appointment with yourself. Try to exercise most days of the week. [H3] Get checkups and screenings. “Work with your doctor to keep your own health where it needs to be,” says Webster. “Get your screening tests and immunizations.”
Catch plenty of zzz’s.
You’re better able to cope with the stress of caregiving when you’re well-rested. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Consider respite care.
Everyone needs a break now and then, and caregivers are no exception. Ask a family member, friend or neighbor to take over caregiving duties for a few hours or days. Or look into arranging respite care services through a private home care agency or nursing home.
“Respite care gives you a chance to catch your breath and come back refreshed,” Jones says.