Top 5 Ways to Combat Caregiver Strain
March 26 2022
Top 5 Ways to Combat Caregiver Strain
It is our instinct to help out those we love. Especially if it’s a parent or a lover. If they fall sick, we consider it our duty to look after them because we love them. We can’t imagine not doing it. But something we often fail to consider is the strain of caregiving.
Like everything else, caregiving also exacts a toll on us. It results in the strain and exhaustion of both body and mind, and if ignored, it can negatively impact us. The chances are good that you were never taught how to combat this. So, let’s take an in-depth look at what caregiver strain is and the best ways of preventing it.
What Is Caregiver Role Strain?
The best way to approach the caregiver role strain definition is this: Any time you, the caregiver, feel overwhelmed by all the responsibilities that come with the part, to the extent of being unable to fulfill some, or most, of them, is caregiver role strain. Feelings of anxiety and stress often compound this.
Why does it happen? There are many reasons. Finances, for instance. Taking care of an ailing loved one can be quite costly, and if you are not financially privileged, it can be a huge cause of anxiety and strain.
Additionally, if you are young and unused to shouldering much responsibility, this massive shift can leave you out of breath. A lot goes into caregiving. You need to create a balance between the role of caregiver and that of husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, or whatever your initial relation to the patient must be.
There will be a definite shift in the dynamic you have with your loved one, and you need to be prepared for it. You also need to be aware that you may end up feeling the effects of the misery your loved one goes through. For example, dementia patients commonly experience sleeplessness, and you, as a caregiver, may feel irritation and distress related to this.
How to Know if You’re Feeling Caregiver Strain?
Every condition has its symptoms, and this one is no different. If you have reason to suspect that you have caregiver stress, consult the symptoms listed below. Only after identifying the condition should you try to treat it.
- Insomnia, among other sleep problems
- Irritability and snappishness
- Withdrawal from social circles
- Sudden changes or loss in appetite
- Chronic tiredness and exhaustion lasting throughout the day
- Disinterest in sex
- Loss of excitement towards hobbies
- A higher propensity for crying
The first thing you need to realize is that it’s okay if you identify the above symptoms in your behavior. It is normal to be stressed if you have to take care of someone who is sick. It is quite literally life-changing, and you have to alter your living patterns to accommodate.
However, if you leave it unchecked, caregiver strain can lead you down to an unhealthy spiral of hopelessness, loneliness, anger, and guilt. This is especially dangerous, seeing as how you are responsible for the health of another. Worse still, if you have a predisposition towards depressive tendencies.
Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you need to combat this as soon as you know that you are suffering from it.
Prevention Strategies for Caregiver Strain
There are a few effective caregiver role strain interventions that you can employ to avoid caregiver strain. We will look at a few of them here:
- Prioritize your health: This goes without saying. If you succumb to sickness, nobody will be left to take care of you or your loved one. To do this, you need to eat healthily and sleep properly. Fruits and vegetables are your friends. Try to get into the habit of eating with your patient. Think of it as a team-building exercise.
- Maintain your hobbies: It’s important to keep a life apart from your caregiving responsibilities. You need to maintain a sense of self. Indulge in your hobbies, stay happy, and keep laughing. Don’t lose that smile. It will help you lift not only your spirits but also your loved ones.
- Stay in shape together: Some exercise does everyone good. If your loved one can’t do strenuous physical activity, there’s no need for that! There are plenty of options, like yoga and stretching. Anything that allows you to stretch those muscles and release some energy will do wonders to keep you going.
- Be very mindful of your behavior: Caregiving isn’t easy. If during this time you find yourself getting angry or irritated, nip it in the bud. You do not want to say something hurtful you know you’ll regret when you calm down. Instead, remove yourself from the situation. Take a little break and do something relaxing.
How to Treat Caregiver Strain
Yes, prevention is better than cure, but it is impossible to prevent it from affecting you in every case. In times like these, it is best to know how to handle it. There are a lot of things you can do to treat caregiver strain, and the three best measures are listed below:
- Stick to a caregiver role strain care plan: Organization leads to the retention of sanity, which is sorely needed sometimes. Keep a physical note of everything you need to do every day at hand. That little hit of dopamine every time you check something off is important. And if you can’t complete everything, that’s completely fine. It’s important to be flexible.
- Rely on others: You are not alone, and you don’t have to work like you are, either. Every time you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, reach out to a friend. They will always be there for you. If you can, you ought to take a break from your caregiving duties and hang out with them. This ensures you’ll come back refreshed and ready to do more.
- Talk: Yes, you are responsible for your loved one, but that doesn’t make it a one-man-band. Yours is a two-person team, and you need to talk to them. You need to discuss both your feelings and schedule some time for you to do something fun together. It helps keep morale up.
Getting Caregiver Assistance
Caregiver role strain is common and normal among primary caregivers. The stress, anxiety, and helplessness you feel are significant factors that govern you and your loved one’s happiness. This is why you need to make sure you stay on top of your game and avoid caregiver burnout. One way to avoid caregiver strain is to seek assistance from All American Home Care. Our compassionate team of caregivers will be able to provide you and your loved one with support and companionship. Reach out today for a consultation.