I haven’t gotten my day started, and I already do not feel capable of getting it all done.
Worst of all – it is the holiday season and I do not even want to deal with my mother.
But I do love her, and she needs me – I am her caretaker.
What is up with me?
Feeling stressed is common with caregiving.
Numerous reports reflect that more than half of all caregivers feel overwhelmed by the amount of care that their aging or chronically ill family members require.
With the constant demands of caring for a person, caregivers often fail to recognize that they are stressed, and this leads to applying layers of pressure on themselves.
Avoiding Stress: Recognizing the Signs of Caregiver Stress
Caregivers easily glide over symptoms of stress because they commonly focus on pushing through despite how they feel.
Stress can trigger many mental and physical symptoms in a caregiver:
- Irritability – Feeling irritable at day-to-day activities. Snapping at others. Expecting more from oneself and others. Having resentful feelings.
- Weakened Immune System – Frequently falling ill to unexplained health issues.
- Digestive Distress – Stomach or digestive system issues.
- Headaches – Increased and prolonged headaches.
- Body Pain – Unexplained body aches and pains.
- Weight Gain – Weight gain – especially in the middle section of the body.
- Sleep Disturbances – Insomnia and poor sleep patterns with interruptions.
Caregiver Stress Check
Having an awareness of stress symptoms is a starting step towards toning down the stress that caregivers experience, however, knowing where the stress originates from is key to keeping it under control.
Here are some helpful identification points – Caregiver Stress Check:
Have you broken any routines that could be vital to your mental well-being?
Routines are important to mental health as they provide structure.
A caregiver recently said that she skipped making the beds for several mornings.
As each day progressed, she felt less in control.
Finally, she realized that making the beds added a sense of stability to her day – it was a starting point that brightened her day, and without that routine, the rest of her day felt messed up, and it weighed heavy on everything.
Are you following a schedule that allows some flexibility?
It is important to follow a structured schedule for not only your own peace of mind but also to support your loved one with dementia.
It is also just as vital to not set a rigid schedule – to ensure you allow time for the unknown.
Life can be unpredictable, especially as a caregiver, allow yourself some grace. Plan for breaks that give you time for self-care.
Have you remembered to engage in self-care?
Are you taking care of yourself both physically and mentally?
Are you remaining socially connected? Are you eating properly and exercising?
Are you taking breaks throughout the day? Are you setting and obtaining your own goals?
The more you practice self-care, the more focused you become, and the results reflect in your ability to care for others, as well as your mental and physical well-being.
Respite care provides a short break or relief from caregiving.
It provides a way for the caregiver to recharge and to take better care of themselves during any busy or stressful time, such as during the holidays.
Have you invited respite care into your schedule?
Respite provides time for the caregiver to process important thoughts and questions:
- What do I need to be responsible for in my caregiving?
- Are my expectations accurate?
- Is there anything that I can take off my (caregiving) plate?
- What is the biggest thing that stands in my way (from feeling accomplished)?
- What can I do (in support of myself) when I take breaks?
Caring for Yourself (To Take Care of Others)
Remember that taking care of yourself both physically and mentally is a part of loving others. If you are stressed or not feeling well, it can be detrimental to both you and your work.
Know that there is no guilt in taking care of you!
If you’re concerned that you may no longer be able to care for your loved one at home, we can help.
We know that considering long-term care for your loved one is an emotionally charged time for you, them and the whole family.
We would like the opportunity to help make this transition as easy as possible.
Sundara can help assist you with the financial, legal and practical realities of moving into a memory care community, and we would love to sit down and have a chat!
Make an appointment (you will never be contacted by an automated service, only a real person!) or give us a call at 512-399-5080 to set a meeting and tour the community.