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8 Tips For Dealing With Caregiver Stress

I am a resource addict and I try my best to share the most helpful things I come across with those who I know can benefit.  If you are a caregiver living in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, and looking for resources and assistance, I have the perfect event for you.  An informative and fun-filled day packed with helpful experts and valuable information to make your life as a caregiver easier.

This weekend, She Ages Well will host it’s inaugural Caregiver Holiday Healthy Living Expo, taking place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., December 10 at The Summit, 2975 Esplanade, Grand Prairie, Texas. She Ages Well is a Dallas based online community resource for caregivers. The daylong expo, will feature seminars on healthy lifestyle tips for caregivers, Alzheimer’s facts, finding a home for Mom/Dad, understanding hospice and palliative care, healthy hair and cancer plus special caregiver product demonstrations.

Dr. Sherry Blake, a nationally acclaimed psychologist, will be a featured speaker. Her topic will be “Managing Caregiver Stress”. Blake, who has appeared on such hit Reality TV Shows such as the “Braxton Family Values”, “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, and the “Preachers of Atlanta” is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience.

To learn more about the expo visit SheAgesWell.com.

Caregiver stress is something we always know is there, but usually ignore as just a part of the job. And while it is a part of the job, not acknowledging and managing it can lead to everything from health issues to weight gain to depression to jeopardizing the health and safety of you and your loved one. Without balance and self-care you cannot offer the best possible version of you to anyone else.


Dr. Blake will go into far more detail on the topic at the event, but I’ve listed 8 strategies below to help you deal with caregiver stress.

Find a support group

Support groups are a godsend. Many people are hesitant to share the crazy things they are going through at home. What they don’t realize is that a world of people are facing the same challenges. Support groups offer a place to share and vent and can be found online or in your community.

Exercise

Exercise is a great stress reliever. I personally am either 100 percent on top of it and going to the gym 4 times a week or I haven’t been to the gym in a month. Thing is you don’t have to be a dedicated gym rat to reap the benefits of exercise. You can take a 15 minute walk while your loved one is napping. A quick search of “exercise videos” on YouTube will bring up a ton of workout routines to follow along with. Or maybe you have time to dedicate an hour to a class or a full workout at the local gym. Either way, carving out some time for a little exercise will release stress-busting hormones and give you a much needed boost.

Step Away

You will not win an argument with a person with dementia. Stop trying. 9 times out of 10 you are only stressing yourself out. Step away. Take a deep breath. Grab a cup of tea or coffee. (Or a glass of wine. Whatever works.) Calm down and come back. This works for everything from disagreements and arguments to dealing with stubborn customer services reps over the phone to finding that one thing that you know you had and can’t for the life of you figure out where it went.

Create Routines

A structured day can help reduce agitation and improve mood, for both you and your loved one. Try to keep a consistent time for waking up, bathing, meals, etc. Make sure the routine includes time for yourself. (i.e. exercise, watching your favorite show on TV, etc)

Be Flexible

While we try our best to stick to routines, it’s OK if sometimes things don’t go as planned. Being flexible helps minimize stress when things change or don’t work out how you hoped.

Journal

If you can’t find anyone to vent to write it down. Either in a written journal or an online app. I use an app called Day One to record everything from rants about whatever challenge I am facing that day to photos from memories we make over time. Writing out my frustrations helps me to contemplate the situation and sometimes move on more easily.

Ask for help

Asking for help can be awkward and difficult, but you have to do it.  We all need help and you should not feeling guilty for reaching out. I know we feel like only we can do things the way they need to be done, but don’t be a control freak. You can request help from family, church members, neighbors, community organizations or simply anyone who genuinely wants to help.

Keep Things in Perspective

I know this is going to sound cliche’d, but one thing I always remember is that things could be worse. Count your blessings and appreciate the good times, no matter how rare they seem. Celebrate accomplishments. At the end of the day jot down a list of things you are thankful for.

If you came to this post at the end of your rope, take a deep breath and please know that this too shall pass. You may not be able to control the circumstances that cause your stress, but you don’t have to suffer through it. Try some of the above stress relievers above and hang in there.

What do you do to relieve stress? Let me know in the comments below.

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