Managing Caregiver Stress Part Two


caregivers,eldercareIf you're like me, your eldercare experience is continually focused on taking the best possible care of other people.  I typically nurture my loved ones far better than myself.  During moments of lucidity, when I realize stress is taking a toll on my mind and body, I know it's time to attend to my own self-care.  Here are some of my favorite self-help tips for caregivers:

  • Sleep
  • Eat
  • Journal

Sleep: The Elusive Antidote

Increasing sleep can dramatically improve our sense of well-being.  It is one of the single most important factors in decreasing stress, boosting our immune systems and enhancing our moods.  Some people claim to do fine on 5 or 6 hours a night, but I find this isn't enough to feel my best.  How many hours a night are you sleeping right now?  How many hours of sleep do you require to feel good?  I encourage you to make your sleep a priority and find creative ways to boost your hours so your body can truly rejuvenate.

Nourish Your Body

Nourishing ourselves from the inside out with healthy, supportive food is one of the easiest, most overlooked keys to feeling our best.  Obviously we eat something every day, but what?  When I'm stressed and tired, I crave refined carbohydrates, sweets and fats.  Anything that comes wrapped in a convenient package and doesn't require any processing is a time saver, but has the unwanted effect of filling me with empty calories.

Even if you are careful about eating healthy foods, you may have adopted my unfortunate tendency to skip meals in an effort to save time and push through lengthy to-do lists.  Please make a point of feeding yourself at least as well (and as regularly) as the people you are taking care of.  You will reap the rewards of greater health and improved energy that all caregivers need.

Write Your Stress Away

I count on journaling as a way to release stress at the end of long days.  The only requirement is to give yourself permission to write with complete honesty.  While much of your writing may be about the challenges of eldercare, it feels good to include three things that you are grateful for every day.

Please share your valuable ideas with our eldercare community through a comment on this blog!


4 Responses

  1. I care for my disabled 76 yr old father who has lost his leg due to diabetes and has dementia. I often get overwhelmed. He just got out of the hospital and now I have to give him IV meds (well the nurse starts it and I take it off and flush it)
  2. I can well understand your feeling of overwhelm. Helping to manage your father's diabetes and dementia is quite a challenging situation. Thank you for finding EldercareABC and reaching out. I invite you to join our forums and "Ask an Expert" on to help you find additional resources in your journey. Warmly, Christy
  3. I found making time for hobbies and friends were the most refreshing, reenergizing things for me. I could take my frustrations out on weeds, find time for prayer and meditation, and just venjoy the weather out in my garden. My friends listened while I vented and made me laugh. These were lifesavers for me.
    • admin
      I heartily agree. I think they are great for the elderly as well. Both my parents continue to pursue their hobbies in their 90's and 80's. They give me hope!

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