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Caregivers

Understanding your triggers for stress will also provide the information you need, to combat the situation before it rises to an unmanageable level. Use the tips below to provide the self-care required to maintain your well being in your role as caregiver.

1. Your needs

Determine what is it that you do now or have done in the past to eliminate your stress. There are many ways to reduce, or eliminate stress. Some common activities include – deep breathing, physical & mental exercises, meditation, comedy clubs or movies, 7-9 hours of sleep per night, petting your dog or cat, and massage. Think about what you usually do to tone it down when faced with a stressful situation.

2. Schedule ‘me time’ regularly

The definition of ‘me time’, and the regularity will be different for everyone. For some it could mean something as small as a 15 minute warm, bubble bath. For others it could mean a two hour lunch with the girls. It actually means whatever it takes for you to unwind, and recharge.

3. Let your emotions come out

Realize that caregiving is a tough job, and most care recipients understand that as well. When you provide care for someone else, you WILL feel frustrated, angry, sad, overwhelmed, and many more negative feelings, and also some positive feelings. We have a tendency to try to keep these negative feelings inside, so we don’t upset our care recipients. It’s true we don’t want to upset them, but even though you try not to let it show, it will. When you realize a negative feeling is coming on, I recommend that you go someplace out of earshot to let out your feelings. I even apologized in advance to one of my care recipients, because I knew that I may, let’s say, be less than amiable at some point. You need to get it out of your system in some way. Sometimes just talking with another family member or a friend helps. There are also support groups for caregivers that really understand what you’re going through.

4. Get help

No one can, or should take on the role of caregiver alone. We all have full lives, and this role will add to a potentially already full schedule of activities for ourselves. Because of this fact, we need help to fulfill our role of caregiver, not only for us but also for the care recipient. The type of help you need will depend on the level of care required by the care recipient. Determine the times in the day or night when you need the most help. If you have other family members that can help, that’s great, if not, there are respite care services available.