Caregivers face a great deal of stress in their line of work. In fact, they often refer to this as “caregiver stress” because the experience is so common and unique. If you have felt the pressure of this lifestyle lately, the team at In-Home Counseling is here to help. Here are some stress management tips for caregivers, specifically designed to address your needs.
Don’t Be Ashamed to Ask for Help (Or Accept It)
Caregivers often think they have to do everything on their own, but that simply isn’t the case. If someone offers to help you, do not be afraid to accept that help. It’s not a handout – it’s a hand-up. We all need those from time to time.
If you know you need help, don’t hesitate to ask. The person you ask will depend on the nature of your work. If you work with a caregiver agency, talk to them about getting coverage for a mental health day, or ask for an adjustment in your hours. If you care caring for a friend or family member, ask a trusted companion to handle a certain task for you. Something as simple as having a second set of hands to fold laundry or run errands will make a big difference in your stress levels.
Keep Your Commitments to a Minimum Outside of Work
You may feel like you have to do as much as possible on your days off because your caregiving shifts are so long. The stress of those commitments can quickly bleed into your work. You can spend time with friends or enjoy your favorite hobbies, but schedule some down time as well. You shouldn’t feel like every minute of the day is filled to the max.
Know What You Can Realistically Handle, and Set Goals to Match
The goals set by your employer or your client may not fit the reality of the situation. You know what you can handle, how long each task takes, and how much you can realistically achieve in a day/week. Set goals that match your capabilities. If the agency you work for is asking too much of you, talk to them about their expectations. Explain issues you experience that may cause delays, such as unexpected errands or additional tasks you’ve had to take on. As long as you’re honest with yourself and everyone involved, you can find a setup that won’t strain your mental health.
Get Plenty of Rest on Your Days off
Caregiving requires a series of physical and mental tasks. Even if you are not moving around much during one shift, your brain is probably in overdrive. You need to be able to recharge during your days off. This aligns with a tip above: don’t pack your days too full. Instead, allow time for rest and relaxation. You’re allowed to spend a day doing absolutely nothing. In fact, we encourage it! When you go back to work, you will feel revitalized and ready to take on the day.
Talk to Someone about the Stress
You don’t have to carry this stress alone. There are many caregiver support groups to participate in, or you can speak to a therapist about your stress. At In-Home Counseling, we provide confidential counseling solutions when and where you need it most. Our therapists come to you, and we can work around your busy schedule. Discuss your stress in a judgement-free setup, and get personalized suggestions for how to manage caregiver stress.
To schedule an appointment for in-home counseling in Illinois, call (847) 903-5604.