Do you provide care to someone else? A child, teen, young adult or grandchild? Maybe you’re also caring for a parent, grandparent, friend, neighbor or colleague? Then you’re a caregiver. Did you know that the stress of caregiving can take ten years off of a caregiver’s life? Finding healthy coping strategies and techniques to reduce stress can ultimately prevent caregiver burnout and help caregivers reclaim those ten years.
Caregivers are no strangers to stress. Understanding what causes stress, what it looks and feels like for you, and learning ways to cope with stress can help you to manage the stress of daily life and the stress of caregiving.
Understanding what causes you stress is an important first step to better coping and managing your stress.
Five tips for Stress Management
Connection — When we stay socially connected, with friends, family, colleagues, or a support group we start to normalize what caregiving looks and feels like. We are better able to reframe stressors as opportunities for growth.
Strengths — Make a list of all your strengths to remind yourself that you are strong. You can tackle just about anything when you leverage your strengths.
Gratitude — Start a gratitude journal. While things seem hard today, there’s always something to be grateful for.
Get Out of Your Head— Self-talk – regrets – lost expectations fill our thoughts. Take the first step to get out of your head and into your body – movement of any kind. Your body is always in the present.
Make a Plan — When you can plan on your good days – you’ll always be prepared for the bad days. What brings you joy? What’s your self-care plan to counter the stress of caregiving?
We can’t remove the stress of caregiving. Stress is a part of life, but doesn’t have to knock us flat. We do have tools to cope and manage the stress of caregiving — we just need to remember to use them.
Kristi Horner is the Executive Director at Courage to Caregivers, a nonprofit with the mission to provide hope, support, and courage to caregivers and loved ones of those living with mental illness. For more tips, a Self-Care Plan template, and information about their free Caring for the Caregivers Virtual Summit Nov. 16 and 17 or visit couragetocaregivers.org.