Caring for a family member is one of the most powerful ways to show you love them. By the time a family member needs care however, it usually means they need someone to help them 24/7.
Even the most self sacrificing person can find themselves struggling when faced with caring for a loved one night and day, especially if there is no one else who can trade out with them to make things a bit easier. If you find care giving stressful, here are 5 ways you can cope.
Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep has been linked to stress in several different studies. Fortunately, getting enough sleep seems to help stop the problem. According to Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of neuroscience and psychology, “Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night.”
If you have an appointment early in the morning or a job, you set an alarm to make sure you wake up in time. A healthy step towards reducing your stress that stems from lack of sleep, is to take your sleep as seriously as your waking time. Set an alarm to let you know when it is time to get ready for bed, and do so when it goes off.
Form a support network
There are people out there who want to help you, but they have to know you need the help in the first place. Connect with your church, family, friends, and other groups. They can help relieve stress by giving you a mental break, and may also be able to help you with errands and other tasks if you need it.
Take a walk
Sometimes just going out for a walk can be all the break you need. A walk allows you to sort out your thoughts, calm your nerves, and collect yourself. It’s also something that can be done close to home, so you’re never far away if your family member needs help.
Louisa Jewell, author of the book, Wire Your Brain for Confidence: The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt, mentions walking as a stress buster: “Many people do not realize the importance of nurturing physical health to stay psychologically happy during stressful times.”
If you can’t leave your family member for even a moment, simply taking a few minutes to breathe can help you reduce stress. According to the American Institute of Stress, abdomen breathing for 20-30 minutes a day can help reduce both anxiety and stress.
Hire a respite care worker
It may seem disloyal to admit that you need a break, but it’s actually one of the most important things you can do for both you and your family member. By taking a break, you will come back in a better frame of mind, and be better able to give them care.
Care giving is a stressful job, but there are ways you can cope with it. By practicing these 5 stress reducing techniques, it’s possible to enjoy the time you have with your family member, while also taking care of yourself.
For more information or for support through respite care, reach out to the caring experts at Homewatch CareGivers of Charlotte today.