What Are Some Ways to Relieve Caregiver Burden?
Caring for someone with a disability, illness, or injury can be a rewarding experience, especially if the person you care for is someone you love. However, caregiving can be tremendously challenging too. Caregiving stress is something that every caregiver experiences at some point.
Prolonged or excessive stress can lead to caregiver fatigue or burnout. To prevent this and to preserve your wellbeing, you need to learn skills to manage caregiver stress.
Here are some strategies to relieve caregiver burden.
Resilience represents one’s ability to adapt well to stress and quickly bounce back after life challenges. Being resilient doesn’t mean that you don’t experience any stress. It is about being able to handle stress and quickly recover from the crisis.
Building a mindset to be resilient will help you manage your personal life and caregiving duties more effectively. Resilience is a skill that you can practice and develop by practicing flexible thinking, for example: when experiencing difficulties, try to think differently about the problem and weigh up multiple perspectives and solutions.
Research shows that mindfulness meditation has multiple benefits on our mental, emotional, physical health and our relationships. Mindfulness exercise is a powerful way to improve your mood and increase optimism, boost your confidence, and improve your relationships with other people.
Regular mindfulness practice can enhance your memory and improve your focus and concentration.
Also, studies show that mindfulness exercise can rewire your brain in ways that affect your thoughts and behavior, reducing the activity in the amygdala that plays a vital role in processing emotions and it is a kickoff for our anxiety reactions. In other words, mindfulness can boost your resilience, by helping you to stay calm in situations that you perceive as stressful.
Finally, mindful meditation can make you more sensitive to the needs of your body. Focusing on your body can help you recognize stress-related somatic symptoms such as headaches or back pain and address these health issues.
Set the Boundaries
There is only so much you can do as a caregiver. Try not to take responsibility for the feelings and needs of a person in your care. Practice self-awareness and tune into your feelings. Give yourself permission not to feel responsible for the emotions and needs of others.
Join a support group for caregivers. Whether it is a general caregiver support group or a group with caregivers who care for a person with the same illness or disability as the person you care for, these groups are a safe place to share experiences, express concerns, pick up valuable caregiving tips, offer and receive support.
Make self-care Your Priority
Recognize your own needs and find ways to fulfill them. Make sure you get enough sleep and stick to a healthy diet. Exercise daily, and find hobbies to enjoy on your own. Allow time and space for yourself and don’t feel guilty about that.
Check out training resources for caregivers. Keep in mind that learning about caregiving responsibilities and expectations can help you to be better organized and prepared to manage caregiving challenges.