We understand that caregiver stress and burden are real. If you are a family caregiver, you live under constant pressure.
You deal with enormous amounts of stress everyday:
Dealing with medical and insurance issues and more.
Even proper relaxation causes most caregivers stress.
I hear over and over again:
“I do not have time to go the the bathroom, let alone take time for a bath”,
“There is not any money for a massage”
“There is no money for in home help”
“My family does not help in any way” or, “It is more work for me, when my family does help”
“I am unable to plan anything, because, just when I do plan, things fall through”
The chronic stress, in turn lead to health issues for the caregiver, thus causing more stress.
Most caregivers are so busy caring for another… they actually become angry and resentful. When they are told that need stress management and the importance of self-care, many shut down. They do now want to hear this information.
Unfortunately… we only realize how stressed we are… when we are not stressed, and in a state of complete tranquility and calmness.
“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” — Mandy Hale
What is Stress?
We are so used to hearing the word ‘stress’ it is time to help make things clear “what is stress?”.
Stress is your body reacting to something called a stressor.
This could be any:
Internal (psychological, etc.)
External (environmental, etc.) situation or condition.
Stress is usually associated with negative medical or emotional conditions … such as heart attacks, stomach ulcers, or even mental illnesses.
Not all stress is bad. There is good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress) . Good stress occurs when you experience positive emotions or mild stressors. Positive stress actually… activates your body to help you cope with the obstacles and challenges of everyday life. You become more alert and focused. Your memory even improves. This is your ‘fight’ mode kicking in.
Distress, or negative stress, occurs when the daily stressors are aggressive… and last for long periods of time. This type of chronic stress actually causes your thinking processes to slow down. Your sense of humor, if you had one in the past, is lessened or lost.
Chronic negative stress causes strain on the heart, headaches and ulcers.
The signs and symptoms of positive stress are: Increase in heart rate up to 90-100 bpm Insignificant raise in arterial blood pressure Flushed skin Increase in depth of your respirations Slight increase in body temperature
The signs and symptoms of distress (or negative stress) are:
Heart rate to accelerate to over 100 bpm Significant increase or decrease in arterial blood pressure Increase in respirations – sighing, shallow breathing
There is no way you can turn the distress (negative stress) you are feeling into positive stress. But you definitely can control it.
The caregiver duties and caregiver responsibilities cause many to feel overwhelm. Many feel that they do not have time or the energy to focus on stress management or self care.
We understand you feel alone with no support. Self-care is important, but it is not impossible. You may have to get creative in the ways in the way you take care of yourself.
You are not alone. Please share what you do, to take care of yourself. Your comments may help others that are struggling with self-care too.