Excessive stress can impact your immune system, increase the risk of anxiety, and make you moody. When you’re a family caregiver, it’s easy to help others so much that you forget about your own needs.
If you’re feeling stressed, it’s time to focus on yourself. Here are three effective ways to ease stress and take care of your own needs.
Find something you love doing that helps you relax. You might find that knitting soothes you. You might find that writing a journal helps you vent and feel better.
Popular hobbies that have helped other family caregivers include painting, baking, and gardening. Find your favorite and engage in it each day.
Your brothers and sisters can’t help you if they don’t know you’re feeling overwhelmed. Talk to them about all of the things you do each week to help your parents age at home. See if they have time on certain days to take over.
You may have siblings who simply don’t help out. It happens. You should expand to aunts/uncles, cousins, and close family friends to see if they’re willing to help. If not, you may need to hire professional caregivers.
Surround yourself with people who understand all you do and how frustrating it can be from time to time. A support group for family caregivers is important if you’re feeling stressed. Join a group online or go to one in a nearby church, community center, or library.
When you have others who’ve been there, you don’t feel alone. You also may learn tips to make some aspects of caregiving easier to manage.
One of the greatest ways to ease stress is to get away for a few days. If you feel refreshed while hiking in the mountains, rent a cabin, and surround yourself with nature. If the beach soothes you, rent an oceanfront or lakefront condo and escape for a long weekend.
You don’t have to travel far. Pick a location that’s a short drive from where you are and offers the amenities you want. Lock yourself away from others for that long weekend and simply unwind and enjoy the sights and sounds while you do nothing but relax and unwind.
How do you take a vacation when your parents need you to help out every day? Call an agency and make arrangements for respite care. When you’re away, caregivers help your parents with housework, meals, laundry, medication reminders, personal care, and other important tasks.
You may find your parents like having someone else with them during the week. Don’t be surprised if they ask to have companionship visits from caregivers regularly.