Family Resources Blog - Los Angeles County & Ventura County

Tips for Managing Stress as a Caregiver

By Dwight Brown & Dan Nathanson

Tips for Managing Stress as a Caregiver

Warning Signs of Stress While Caregiving

It is a delicate dance to find the balance of managing your own life and family while being the main caregiver of a senior loved one. As their needs begin to increase and change, it’s important to recognize the warning signs of stress and burnout. Here are some red flags:

 Feeling unusually emotional or crying easily.
 Reacting far more dramatic to small issues.
 Losing control of your weight.
 Feeling like all you want to do is sleep and never feeling rested.
 Letting your social life vanish.
 New health conditions yourself, such as migraines or stomach upset.

Unfortunately, many caregivers deal with stress by turning to unhealthy behaviors and habits. Some of those habits include, but are not limited to:

 An unhealthy consumption of alcohol on a daily basis.
 Increasing or starting a cigarette habit.
 Becoming dependent on prescription medication to sleep and/or stay awake.
 Unhealthy eating habits, such as fast food.

Letting your own health slip while caregiving is a dangerous road that far too many of us travel. Here are some tips that will help you manage that stress so you can enjoy your role as a caregiver!

4 Ways to Manage Caregiver Stress

1. Regular exercise. You don’t have to do a lot. In fact, a little goes a long way when it comes to exercise benefits. Taking a short walk each day is a great place to start, and if they are able, you can take your loved one along. It will help both of you sleep better!

2. Engage in activities that are proven to reduce stress. This would include things like yoga, meditation, and prayer, swimming, or just sitting still.

3. Ask for help! If other family and friends live close by, don’t be afraid to ask for a hand. Most of the time, people WANT to help in caregiving but just don’t know would be the most beneficial. If you don’t have family support, there are many community agencies which offer respite care so you can take a break. Assisted living facilities, adult day care, and even local churches are all great ways to seek support!

4. Eat a proper diet. We can’t stress enough how important it is that you take care of yourself by eating foods high in nutritional value. Letting your diet slip by running to fast food or snacking all day will only cause your own health to decline. Fast food is high in fat and calories and puts you at risk for all kinds of health problems, such as diabetes and obesity. Eating junk food also lowers your immunity to fight off common illness such as colds and flu. If cooking ahead and freezing your meals isn’t something you can easily do, consider a meal delivery service that can help you get the proper diet!

For more information on how to deal with stress from caring for senior loved ones, please contact us today.