Your stress levels might be much larger as a caregiver than they’ve ever been throughout the rest of your life. That’s not unusual at all, but if you’re not dealing with your stress, that’s going to create bigger problems for you.
Check in with Yourself Regularly
When you get busy and tired, you’re less likely to remember to check in with yourself. This needs to become a habit for you. If you’re running on autopilot, you’re making unconscious decisions that might not be the best ones for you and for your situation. Practice mindful decision-making so that you’re able to quickly assess how you’re doing and what you need.
Update Your List of Stressors
What causes you the most stress? If you don’t already have a list written out, you need to do that. As you find other situations, people, and issues that stress you, add them to the list. This helps you to figure out what is contributing to your stress so that you can do a better job of finding solutions. You have to examine what’s going on if you’re going to correct anything.
Only Change What You Can Change
As much as you want to change or to do away with everything that causes you significant stress, you can’t do that. Some situations, like your elderly family member’s health issues, are going to be what they are. The only thing you can do about those is to manage how you approach her health and how you take care of yourself. If your stressors involve situations you can’t do anything about, find a way to mark that on your list. General self-care is what’s going to help with those.
When You Can Take Action, Don’t Wait
So what can you do about it? If not having enough sleep sets your whole day off into an awful direction, make sure that you’re doing things that support a good night’s sleep as often as possible. If you know that eating lots of sugar and processed foods makes you jumpy and puts you on edge, change your diet. Put action where it’s going to do you the most good.
The big thing about managing your stress as a caregiver is that you can’t just ignore it and hope that it goes away. Stress is something you have got to address head on so that it doesn’t just grow and take over every aspect of your life.