Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress

Taking care of the changing needs and behaviors of a person with Alzheimer’s is difficult, and it is quite possible for you to get burnt out. If you find that you are experiencing any of these symptoms, such as stress, anxiety, exhaustion, sleeplessness, or irritability, it is important that you not only talk with your doctor, but start practicing self-care. The following are great ways to de-stress:

Watch your health

When you are responsible for caring for someone else, it can feel as if there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. However, it is important to remember that if you aren’t taking proper care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others. Start by making sure you are eating right – don’t let your nutrition become a secondary concern. Try to work a little bit of exercise into your routine. Not only is it good for your health, but daily exercise can boost your ability to fight off sickness, raise your energy levels, and help you fall asleep at night. Speaking of sleep, make sure you are getting plenty of rest by creating a sleep routine, and avoid supplementing your low energy with caffeine, as it could be the culprit for why you can’t fall asleep at night.

Organize and socialize

As a caregiver, you have a ton of information to keep track of. Start by getting organized on paper, including all health information, medications, and finances. Keep a folder with copies of important documents such as birth certificate, will, and power of attorney. Find the organization method that works for you whether it is using a calendar, setting reminders on your phone, or using sticky notes, but remember, there’s an app for that. Once you get organized it’s time to socialize. Your social life may have taken a backseat, but it’s important that you stay in touch with others. Connect with other caregivers through online forums, support groups, and social media. Keep in contact with friends and family, even if it is a weekly Skype call or lunch date; and if you can’t come out, ask them to come to you.

Find ways to relax

Each day seems busier than the last, but caregiver burnout is a real and serious possibility. The word ‘relax’ might not even be in your vocabulary at this point, but it should be. Finding the time to relax each day ensures that you are able to continue caring for your loved one without putting your health and well-being at stake. Both yoga and meditation have been found to lower depression and improve brain functioning, so why not gives those a try? If you aren’t sure where to start, Hatha yoga goes at a slower pace, making it perfect for beginners and those looking to recharge. End your session with a little bit of restorative yoga, which will relax your mind and your body. Meditation is another great way to induce a sense of calmness, and there are even meditation exercises to induce sleep. Ultimately, the key to relaxing is do the things you enjoy whether that is reading, jogging, or watching your favorite soap opera.

You give care to others, but you need to give some of that care to yourself too. Make sure you are giving your health some TLC, remove unnecessary stress by getting organized and venting to others, and incorporate relaxing activities into your daily routine.