How to Manage Stress as a Caregiver

Here at Zenith Family Health Center, we understand the importance of being a caregiver.

As the population ages, more and more people—who aren't medical professionals—are becoming caregivers. In the United States, about 1 in 3 adults care for others as informal caregivers.

There are many benefits to caring for someone else. For most, the true value lies in being able to help a loved one. However, a shift in emotions and roles is almost inevitable. Even the most resilient person can be overwhelmed by caregiving.

Caregiver stress is a common emotion and physical result of caring. Feeling sad, angry, frustrated, exhausted, or alone is normal. If you're experiencing stress as a caregiver, here are a few tips to manage it.

Accept Help From Others

Sometimes, asking for help or accepting help is difficult. However, be open to it!

Make a list of the ways others can help. For example, a friend or family member can help you run an errand or pick up your groceries. You can even have someone come over and help the person you care for, so you can have some time to yourself.

Also, during this time, keep in touch with friends and family who can provide non-judgmental emotional support. Even if it's just a walk or a chat with a friend, set aside some time each week to connect with others. 

Have Realistic Goals

Try breaking down large tasks into manageable steps. This way, you can focus on one thing at a time. 

Also, prioritize everything; create lists and set a daily routine to help you stay organized. Also, please decline if you are asked to host a holiday meal or another stressful request. You don't need those added stressors.

Focus On What You Can Provide

It's important to know that feeling guilty sometimes is normal. It would be best if you accepted that not everyone is perfect. All you can do is believe in yourself and trust that you are always making the best decisions.

Connect With Others & Join Support Groups

Learn about the resources available to caregivers in your area. 

Many classes can help you learn more about the health, illness, or condition your loved one has. You may also be able to get transportation, housekeeping services, or meal deliveries.

Furthermore, consider joining a support group. They can offer support, encouragement, and problem-solving techniques for those in difficult situations. Support groups can help you understand your feelings. Also, support groups can be a great place to make meaningful friendships.

Establish Personal Health Goals For Yourself

Even though you're caring for someone else, it's important to care for yourself too.

Many caregivers struggle with sleep. Health problems can result from not getting enough quality sleep for a prolonged period. Therefore, get enough rest, exercise regularly, and eat healthy meals.

Additionally, make sure to visit your Zenith Family Health Center doctor. Receive all recommended screenings and vaccinations. At your appointments, make sure to tell your doctor you are a caregiver. Do not hesitate to tell your Zenith doctor about any symptoms or concerns you may have.

To be the best caregiver, you need to be the best version of yourself.