For Caregivers: Coping Tips
Caregivers often feel they must tend to their loved one’s needs full time. But burning yourself out doesn’t help anyone and can negatively affect your own health. You can’t take good care of someone else without taking good care of yourself as well. It’s not selfish. It’s essential. Take a break. Eat right. Get out and exercise. Most of all, accept that you can’t do everything yourself.
Give yourself a break
All of the things you do are not equally important. Set priorities. That way you won’t be busy all the time. Look after your health. Go for a walk each chance you get. Take a long bath. Lift your spirits by having lunch with a friend. Or do nothing for an hour. Just nap or relax.
Knowing you can count on others can be a relief. Accept help when it’s offered. And be willing to ask for help when you need it. Those who care about you really do want to help.
If you feel depressed
Over time, after a serious health event, stress should gradually lessen. But your life may have changed. Realizing this may cause grief, both for you and your loved one. Contact your healthcare provider if either of you shows signs of depression. Treatment can help you find hope—even when you think nothing can help.
Common signs of depression
Feeling down most of the time
Feeling guilty or helpless
Losing pleasure in things you used to enjoy, like reading, exercise, or social events
Sleeping less or more than normal
Having a big rise or fall in appetite or weight
Feeling restless or irritable
Feeling tired, weak, or low in energy
Having trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
Feeling angry or agitated can be a sign as well. This may be the only sign more common in men.
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