Stress is a very common occurrence for caregivers. No one is immune to it. Stress affects us all, yet it manifests itself in different ways for each of us and reminds every individual that stress management is vital to improving performance at home and work.
And know this… You’ve got this! We’ve said it before…. You have made it through 100% of your hardest days.
When caregivers are feeling under pressure our bodies release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline as a response.
It is important to keep stress at manageable levels. But, how do we cope with stress?
We all experience stress in different ways and sometimes we may not have the power to change the current circumstances which are inducing our stress at any given time. While it is not a mental health problem, long periods of stress can have an adverse effect on health and lead to burnout as a caregiver and further health issues.
Are you leaving your stress unchecked?
Stress has been linked to poor mental, physical, and emotional health in the past. It's also connected to depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and diabetes, among other chronic diseases.
As a caregiver, knowing your options for stress management can bring to the surface options for reducing your chances of having burnout.
Here are our 8 tips for reducing stress:
- GET OUTSIDE. The sun boosts levels of serotonin which helps with sleep, your mood, and lowers blood pressure.
- EXCERCISE. Science tells us moving our bodies releases endorphins which helps us to feel good. This is as simple as going for a short walk or moving around your home or living space.
- MEDITATION. Attempting to gain perspective on your emotions by setting aside time to sit or lay down in a quiet place and work to remove outside thoughts and be only in the present. Notice things in your surroundings such as smell, touch, sound or taste to help ground you in a moment. Check out resources like Headspace to start a calming journey into mindfulness to reduce stress and bring more joy.
- SEEK COUNSELING. Taking the time to talk to a friend, loved one, or therapist can help you lighten the load you may be feeling. Outside perspective and assistance organizing your thoughts and creating an action plan can assist to reduce your mental burden.
- SLEEP. After enjoying increased levels of serotonin while being outside, catch some zzzz’s to allow your mind to rest and ready itself for the next day.
- GET CREATIVE. Draw, color, doodle, or cook. Creativity is limitless. Finding an enjoyable activity for even 5 minutes can allow for an opportunity to use another section of the brain and receive a mental break.
- JOURNAL. Writing down your stress to see what you're thinking and determine how you are feeling can prove fruitful.
- EAT AND DRINK HEALTHY. Hydration is important every day. Dehydration actually increases your stress levels and eating food rich in vegetables and fruit is associated with less stress. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which helps boost your immune system. Grab an orange, grapefruit, or other citrus!
There is an emotional, physical and financial toll on caregivers and we all experience stress in different ways. Knowing you’re not the only one dealing with stress can be relieving.
The most valuable takeaway may be knowing how to talk to others about your stress or be the ear that someone else can come to as well. April is National Stress Awareness Month and it is important to learn some strategies and know you are not alone as stress affects everybody.
A qualified home health professional can assist in providing respite care to family caregivers and alleviate stress. Home Care Providers has compassionate, experienced caregivers such as therapists, personal care aides, registered nurses, and home health aides who are here to help.
Home Care Providers provides personalized, high-quality care with the most innovative technology allowing physicians, families, and care teams to stay connected and compliant by documenting and communicating within a secure portal. We want our patients, families, physicians, hospitals, and any facility we coordinate care with to experience THE BEST services possible!