When you're a full-time family caregiver, it can often feel like your entire life is on hold. On particularly tough days, negative thoughts and emotions can become overwhelming, and you may even notice your stress manifesting into physical symptoms. This article will explore what you can do to manage your feelings and make sure you are able to provide the best possible care for your loved one.
Practice Good Self Care
It can be hard to think about yourself, but it's extremely important to do so. Be sure to incorporate some you time into your daily routine. Whether it's taking a few minutes to meditate, workout, read a book, or simply take a bath - take time to do something you enjoy each day.
Also, prioritize getting enough sleep at night and try to avoid having a drink before bed. Alcohol may help you fall asleep quickly, but it can prevent you from getting the quality sleep you need to be fully recharged in the morning.
Talk to People Who Understand
If you're feeling isolated, consider checking out a caregiver support group in your area. If none exist, look into online caregiver forums. Seek out a group focused on any conditions your loved one has to get the most out of it.
Having a group of people you can vent to that understand how you feel can help you keep your emotions under control. Participating in a support group can also be an excellent way to learn better care and coping techniques. If you have a hard time finding the right group or struggle to attend meetings, talk to a friend.
Ask for Help
If it all becomes too much, there is no shame in bringing in a relief caregiver - commonly referred to as respite care. Although handing your loved one's care off to a professional may be stressful in its own way — it also may be exactly what you need to get back on track. By giving yourself a chance to step away, you can regain your cool and avoid lashing out at your loved one, spouse, or children.
Most importantly, you need to know your limits. Existing in a constant state of overwhelming stress is unhealthy and will make it much harder to continue to provide quality care to your loved one. Take good care of yourself, and when you need help, don't be afraid to ask for it.
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