Caregiver stress can be a real problem. Unfortunately, too many caregivers focus all of their energy on taking care of their loved ones and forget about themselves.
However, it doesn't have to be this way. Here are some tips to cope with the stress that comes along with being a caregiver.
You have to learn to say no. Though it can be hard to say no, you are going to have to pick and choose where you put your energy. You aren't going to be able to host your family over for the holidays, if you have to spend it with your loved one.
It is important to realize that you may not be able to help out at your children's school because your evenings may be spent taking care of your loved one. You aren't going to be able to go to every party that you are invited to. Pick and chose what you do so that you don't become overwhelmed.
To do that, you may have to accept your limitations. Though it is really hard, you are going to have to take a hard look at your own limitations. You aren't going to be able to do everything that needs to be done at home, work, and with your loved ones. You may want to help with their finances, but maybe you aren't very good with your own money.
Though it is difficult, you are going to have to realize that you can't control everything. You are also going to have to learn that you can't control what is happening with your loved one. However, you can focus on what you can do to make their life better.
They may not be able to go out to eat and enjoy a good meal, but they may enjoy having it brought to them in their own home. They may not be able to cook like they used to, but they may enjoy helping you with the meal! They may struggle to get around, but you can do whatever you can to make it go as easily as possible.
It really helps to be prepared. You are going to need to prioritize your day and time. You need to make a list of tasks that you need to accomplish every day. Break them up so that they are more manageable. Stay organized with calendars and a list of daily tasks. This will make everything go much more smoothly.
Find a support system. You need to find someone (or a group of people) to support you through this difficult time. Though your friends and family will be supportive, they may not understand what you are going through.
You may want to join a support group of caregivers, because they will be in the same position that you are. You might even find one that specializes in the issue that you are dealing with, such as spinal injury or dementia. If you aren't able to leave your loved one alone, you may want to look online for groups to join.
In order to be the best caregiver you can be, you need to learn to say no. You can't do everything. You are going to have to give up on some things. It also helps to be organized. Organize your days with a list of tasks that you need to accomplish so that you can keep track of what you need to do. It also helps to find a good support system. Though you may have your family and friends by your side, it often helps to talk to others who are going through the same things that you are.