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Understanding STRESS as it Impacts Our Lives During Difficult Times

Taking care of a senior family member can make you begin to make you feel less  energetic than you have been in the past. The added work and stress of caring for children or other family members begins to take a toll on you. As a caregiver, you may find yourself managing two households. All the while, it may seem that you are neglecting your own needs. Taking care of yourself may seem like a luxury, but in reality, it’s essential so that you can be at your best as you continue caring for your loved ones.

Anxiety, depression, and stress are often associated with caretaking. These increase with the severity of disability of the elderly.

Often times, family members, friends or employers who aren’t a caregiver themselves don’t understand the amount of stress that you are under. They may recognize that you are stressed out but don’t realize to what degree. Essentially, they all will try to encourage you “Cheer up, buttercup!” and that may make you resentful.  It clearly will take much more than a couple of words to make us feel better, yet the concept of positive thinking really can minimize some anxiety and depression. This is especially important so that you can reduce the possibility for burnout.

During these crazy times, the stress may even be heightened. Trying to stay home and not bring COVID-19 back to our loved ones, isn’t an easy task! It is especially more important now than ever to practice the following techniques for yourself.

Some techniques include the following:

  1. Take some me time. Whether it be to take a walk, bath, read a book or gardening, etc.
  2. Make time to talk to friends on the phone or social media. Stay connected!
  3. Keep a journal of some things that you are grateful for – Include the little things
  4. Think of one of your strengths and contemplate how you’re applying that strength to each day.
  5. Do one daily small act of kindness for someone else.
  6. Remember a negative event or feeling, and then try to see the positive in the situation
  7. Practice focused breathing and mindfulness to restore a sense of peace.

Positive thinking and some time away, really can help!

For those providing care for a family member with dementia, or other conditions, the need to focus on positives is usually even more imperative to overall wellbeing.

In addition to the techniques we suggest in our new blog, it is crucial for family caregivers to avoid isolating themselves and trying to manage their caregiving duties alone, which can very quickly lead to caregiver burnout along with other serious health risks. Partnering with an experienced in-home care agency, like Caring Hearts and Hands, is the ideal approach to acquiring a much healthier life balance – both for family caregivers and also the older adults in their care.