9 Essential Tips for Coping with Care-Giverís Stress
Posted in the Spinal Cord Injuries Forum
Since: Apr 10
#1 Aug 25, 2010
Oftentimes, a care-giver to the ill, bedridden or elderly may find their role both physically and emotionally overwhelming. While taking care of the many needs of their patient, they forget to cater to their own needs. Sadly, this can lead to the care-giver becoming exhausted, depressed, neglecting their health, feeling unable to cope and becoming ill themselves. If youíre a care-giver, take note of these 9 essential tips to beating care-giverís stress.
1. Never forget your own health
Just as your patient needs to have their mind, body and spirit nurtured - so do you. Make it a priority to eat well, exercise and get eight hours of sleep. Being a run-down care-giver will not be beneficial to yourself or your patient.
2. Give yourself respite time
Make use of respite services in your community or enlist a friend or relative to give you regular breaks from your care-giving which can sometimes be an around-the-clock role. Use your breaks to do things you enjoy like spending time with your family, relaxing or enjoying a night out with friends.
3. Seek support from other care-givers
Find other care-givers like yourself. You can do this through support groups or through online resources. Speaking to other care-givers who understand your experiences can be valuable and it might also give you a chance to pick up tips or useful advice.
4. Learn good ways to cope with stress
Learn meditation or deep breathing exercises, start an exercise routine or learn how to think positively and banish negative thoughts. These simple methods could make a big difference in how you feel each day.
5. Recognize your successes
Donít forget to acknowledge your successes each day - e.g., making your patient smile or receiving their thanks for something you do. However small the successes, know the value of your role as a care-giver and the difference you are making. Accept the things you cannot change.
6. Get informed
It may seem like a chore, but finding out as much as you can about your patientís condition or illness could actually lighten your load and help you feel more in control when caring for them. Speak to their health adviser and care team and use books or online resources to gain information and advice that will help you with your care-giving.
7. Eliminate negative habits
When a person feels stressed, itís easy to engage in negative habits such as over-eating, drinking alcohol, withdrawing from people or neglecting your diet. If you know you are prone to any of these or other negative habits, make a determined effort not to engage in them - remember they will only make you feel worse.
8. Get things off your chest
Try not to bottle up your emotions related to your care-giving. Speak to someone you can trust about how you are feeling. Acknowledging feelings of frustration, sadness, anger, resentment, etc, will be the first step towards dealing with them. Seek professional help if your stress becomes too overwhelming.
9. Look for opportunities to lighten your load
Accept help when offered to you and make use of community resources created to help care-givers. Also, invest in practical aids that can make your care-giving role easier, as well as making your patient feel more comfortable. These include grooming, hygiene and bathing aids and products such as a low air loss mattress which prevents distressing bedsores for the bedridden.
If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. Theyíll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (donít forget to mention our Pressure Mattress website as the original source).
Rachel Clarkson is a bed sores specialist and a big fan and promoter of ďThe Volkner Turning MattressĒ: http://www.Volkner.com
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