My stress level is extremely high. How do you handle caregiver stress?

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The best advice I could give you, would be to get yourself some help. Hire someone to relieve you before your head banging causes real damage.
Many options, but help should be top on the list. We all need to remove ourselves from the situation if only for a few hours at a time.
Whatever you enjoy, when you can get away....do that. Something that gives you peace. Not excitement, but peace.
Take a step back & breathe.
Does your parent(s) live with you? Are you the only one in the family who is interested in caregiving? (most of us are in that boat)
In addtion to what the others mentioned above, you also need to pace yourself. When I first started this journey I was doing EVERYTHING for my Mom. After nearly burning out, I finally figured out what her needs were...her wants come when I have the time. That, along with finding this forum, saved my sanity.
The support offered on this website is a life saver...so many knowledgeable people who are willing to share their advice and experiences despite being fulltime caregivers....still amazes me!
I try to carve out as much time as I can to just rejuvenate...sometimes that just means staying still for more than a few minutes and reading, reflecting, or praying. It is what gets me through. Whatever you do, do not let the stress start effecting your health...that is a clear signal that things must change.
Good luck
Lilli
I agree with everything that has been said. I also am the only family member that seems to care. I sometimes have to beg for help but beg I do if I need it. I find that if I get up earlier then everyone else I can steal the early morning for myself. Very important to find time for yourself, even if it only 10-15 minutes. Most important thing is to care for yourself. Good Luck
Top Answer
LUCY:

For years my answer to stress was a nice, cold Budweiser. ... And another, and another. Took me a while to realize that when you're running from yourself there's no place to hide. Nowadays, negative stress is NOT an option for me. It doesn't matter whom, it doesn't matter when, it doesn't matter where. Anyway, this is what works for me:

(1) When facing a stressful situation, I check with my brain first and ask myself if it's really worth it. I find a way to "respond" appropriately rather than "react" and jump at any little thing. In other words, I choose my battles carefully.

(2) As caregivers, time is a luxury we don't have much of. Instead of running around like a chicken without a head, I make priority lists and assign a degree of importance: "Earthshaking," "Urgent," "Extremely Important," "BS That Can Wait For Later," etc.. Time management is of the essence.

(3) No matter what, if you don't take care of yourself you're going to be useless; to your partner, your kids, whomever. If you find yourself lashing out at your pets or contemplating the idea of running naked down the street in the middle of the night, all the while speaking in tongues, it's time for a straight jacket. You're burned out.

(4) You're not Superwoman. As Naheaton said, get some help. You can't do it all; even when you feel you do. Practice delegating responsibility and use all the resources at your disposal. If you have no idea how to go about it, make a list with two columns: WHAT I HAVE and WHAT I NEED.

Dare to reclaim your life!!! And get those defeatist lines like "It's out of my hands" out of your vocabulary. ... Find a way to be in control without being a monster about it. If someone calls you a "B---CH," just say thank you. It means "Babe In Total Control of Herself." After all, you're in charge.

Good luck.

-- ED


I have been care giver for my mother in law and invalid brother in law for a little over two years.My husband gives me breaks for a few hours and once in a while I get to leave home and go visit my mom for a day or two which has kept me sorta sane.
I've gotten better at this whole thing for very brief moments.Then it seems I start from square one again.At any given moment I can burst into tears,hopefully no one sees this,and at other times I want to go climb a tree and perch like the coocoobird I feel like.One thing is certain,even though my husband has 5 brothers and 5 sisters,we are the only ones committed to giving his mom and brother the best care we are able to afford,which is me mostly and him on desperate days.
Still I know that if this were my mom,he'd show the love and patience,I try to express with his mom,and brother.It's not ever going to get easy but you can learn by your own mistakes and your victories,just how to continue your jouney.
Take a Moment Away .Remember Why You Chose To Do this in the First Place. You may Feel Regret, But I do not Believe You will ever Be sorry. signed : MJ one who knows How you may feel.
A great question and not one particular suggestion but I will try. I am still working which helps me to focus on other things. I have recently contacted a therapist to help me with my stress. I try to find time to read, watch TV, connect with friends, to keep my mind off the constant worry about my loved one. Hope this helps.
I agree will the suggestions here - get help, make priorities, needs vs wants, etc. I would add this - don't feel guilty for doing these things. You NEED to do them so you can provide the best care you can.

I used to feel guilty for taking time to myself, but I've learned to let that go. I don't like the fact that my mom gets upset when I am not there, but I know that I need a break. At first I couldn't enjoy my breaks because I felt bad for taking the time for myself. Now I can enjoy my time away and come back less stressed and able to keep going for a while longer.

Good luck!
As you care for your loved one, remember that you count too. That you need to nurture yourself too, so that you can be in good health to care for your elder.

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