Caregivers at risk
Although you may be Wonder Woman or Superman at heart, your body is not! Caretaking—from assisting the elderly to parenting—can cause stress that leads to serious illnesses. Here, Ryan Searight, owner of Visiting Angels of Williamson County, talks to the View about how to manage the stress of caretaking.
There are many causes of stress. Caretakers feel stress from many different pressures or situations. The most common is the weight of being responsible for another person. Feeling trapped or feeling inadequate to provide excellent care are two other common strains on caretakers, especially when the care recipient is a family member.
Stress is a danger to your health. Stress not only affects emotions but is also bad for the body. “I’ve seen the stress of being a caretaker cause everything from an increase in seasonal illnesses like colds all the way to major depression,” Ryan says
Know the warning signs. Everyone is going to have bad days, but if the bad days are persistent, it’s time to seek help. Being unable to sleep, wanting to sleep all the time, or having feelings hopelessness or persistent sadness are all signs that a caretaker should talk to his or her doctor.
Anticipate and manage the stress. Eliminating stress is not a realistic goal; managing the stress is a much better approach. Getting sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking time to exercise your body and mind are all wonderful places to start. Being a caretaker is far from easy, and oftentimes there isn’t a finish line in sight. Set small goals for yourself, and seek help when you need it.
Let others help. It’s much easier to handle caretaking if you do not feel all alone. For many people, having a trusted friend to confide in or a support group to connect with helps.