Care giving for a loved one can be a rewarding, yet overwhelming task.
Melinda Smith, in her help guide for caregivers, reports that if the stress of care giving is left untamed, your health, relationships and state of mind may pay the price.
When you are burned out, easy tasks may become difficult to perform. Taking care of yourself is a priority before effectively taking care of someone else.
There are many ways you can ease your stress levels and start to feel hopeful again.
Ways to feel empowered include practicing acceptance of the situation, embracing your care giving choice, thinking of the ways the care giving has made you stronger, not letting the care giving task take over you life, focusing on what you can control and celebrating the small victories.
Give yourself appreciation for the work you are doing by applauding your own efforts. Taking to a supportive family member or friend can ease your mind and give you the positive reinforcement you deserve. No one will automatically know if you need help, so ask when you need it.
You can look into respite care services, say “yes” when others offer their assist, and be willing to relinquish some control. Sharing your feelings and pampering yourself with rest, exercise, relaxation, eating well, and getting plenty of sleep will help keep you at your best. Look to friends or organizational resources for care giver support groups.
You are not alone and should not be alone in your journey.
Jill Oliphant is the Director of Nursing for the Benedictine Health System, 1307 7th St N, Wahpeton, ND 58075. Call 701-642-6667 ext 245 or fax 701-642-2485. www.blcwahpeton.org