***DISCLAIMER*** I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. THIS IS A LOT OF RESEARCH BUT YOU SHOULD TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR OR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS OF PROLONGED STRESS OR BURNOUT
So, now that we have gone over the signs and symptoms of each, we will deal with each one separately. We will start with stress. As a reminder, here are the signs and symptoms again.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF STRESS:
-Feeling Tired &/or Run Down
-New/Worse Health Problems
-Feeling Increasingly Resentful
-Drinking, Smoking or Eating More
-Cutting Back On/Eliminating Leisure Activities
So, you’re thinking that you might be suffering from stress… now what? Well, I have some suggestions for what you might want to do to gain more control over the stress.
WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR STRESS?
-Connect face to face with someone
-Get out for a walk in the sunshine
-Increase or add Vitamin D in your diet
-Reach out and connect constantly with supportive peers
-Join Caregiver Support Groups
Now, because stress can SO EASILY lead to burnout, we will be discussing steps you can take to hopefully avoid stress turning to burnout.
FIND WAYS TO FEEL EMPOWERED
Feeling Powerless is the number 1 cause of burnout, stress and depression.
-You will need to find ways to embrace your caregiving choice. Despite how you currently feel, acknowledge that you made the conscious choice to do this.
-Focus on things that you can control. You can not change the diagnosis so do not focus upon it.
-Celebrate the small victories. This is so important. Sometimes the bigger victories will be weeks, months, years, or never come… so you need to find a small victory to celebrate at least once a week.
GET THE APPRECIATION YOU NEED
Feeling appreciated can go a LONG way towards making you happy and keeping you healthy.
-Imagine how your loved one might respond if not for pain, illness or disability. This can help so much.
-Applaud your own efforts. Make a list of how caregiving positively makes a difference. Do this when you’re having a good day and look back to it when you feel low.
-Talk to a supportive family member or friend. Skype coffee date if that’s what it takes!
ASK FOR HELP
-Do not try to do it all alone. That is a 100% guaranteed recipe for burnout. Look into respite care and/or enlist family/friends to provide babysitting, hot meals, or run errands so that you can get a well deserved break!
Speak Up! People can not possibly know what you need if you don’t tell them. Be upfront about what is going on with you &/or your child.
Spread responsibility… Try to get family to help out
Set up a check in… Ask a friend, family member or a volunteer from places such as a church to call and check in with you at a minimum of a weekly basis. They can help enlist assistance if you are showing signs of burnout.
Say “yes”… have a list of things you can easily accept help with.
Relinquish some control… Be willing to be flexible. If grandma offers to take the kids for the day, do not say “well last time, you fed Johnny sugar, so no juice this time. Oh, and I think you should take them to the pool. That would be fun.” Just let them go with Grandma and have a fun day.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!
If you aren’t taking a break, you aren’t the best version of yourself. You need to carve out time for a break.
-Maintain Personal relationships. Invite friends over for coffee. A true friend won’t care about the state of your house.
-Prioritize activities that bring you joy.
-Find ways to pamper yourself. A hot bubble bath by candlelight after the kids are in bed. A back rub. Fresh flowers. Do your nails. Do your hair. Whatever relaxes you and brings you joy, make time and do it.
-Make yourself laugh. Laughter is the best medicine and a little goes a long way.
-Get out of the house. This is so big. Even going to town and getting a coffee can lift your spirits SO much.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF:
Think of yourself like a car. With fuel and proper care and maintenance your car runs well. Neglect it, and it will quickly start to give you trouble. So… what does this mean?
-Keep your doctor appointments. You need to be healthy!
-Exercise. 3 times a day for 10 minutes each time can make so much difference!
-Meditate, or do yoga or guided meditation or breathing.
-Eat well! What you put into your body is so important!
-Sleep properly! Sleep is SO important to you and your mental and physical health!
***OF COURSE, IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TRIED ANY/ALL OF THIS AND IT’S JUST NOT HELPING, YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR.***
Our next post will be regarding burnout.
Until next time… Take care of yourself! ~C