Are you a caregiver? If so, there’s a good chance that you’ve suffered from caregiver stress syndrome, whether you’ve realized it or not. As a caregiver, you take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. This often requires a lot of attention and work, which can take a lot out of you.
Caregiver stress syndrome is a condition characterized by physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. This condition is common in caregivers because they often neglect their own physical and emotional health in place of helping those they care for. They become so invested in the care of others that they neglect themselves and their own needs. This leads to burnout, compassion fatigue or even caregiver stress syndrome.
Dealing With Caregiver Stress Syndrome
The effects that caregiver stress has on the body and mind can be extremely negative. Depression and mental health issues are much more common among caregivers in addition to increased health risks. This is particularly true for caregivers charged with helping someone suffering from cognitive decline. Studies show that 30 to 40% of dementia caregivers suffer from both depression and emotional stress.
If you are suffering from caregiver stress the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a break. While it may not seem like an option, or even feel necessary, giving yourself some time off is the best way to prevent or recover from caregiver stress syndrome. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either from family members or co-workers. If caring for a loved one, look into respite care – a short-term care option – that would give you a break and some time to recover physically and mentally.
Don’t ignore the symptoms of caregiver stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or fatigued, lighten your workload and spend some time to yourself. Don’t try to take on even more work in an attempt to forget your pain away. It will only make matters worse and can be extremely detrimental to your physical and mental health.