While you might love your family, it can be hard to be the sole caregiver for a family member. Whether they have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or some other debilitating condition, your family member will need help. And sometimes the only help around is yourself.
At least 44 million Americans are in the same situation, and despite their good intentions, they are suffering for it. As many as 40% to 70% of family caregivers suffer from depression, and around 38% report that their situation is highly stressful.
All of which you may very well relate with. After all, on top of your usual daily chores, you hold the entirety of another person’s well-being in your hands. You have to make sure that their health needs are met alongside yours. And that can mean buying two sets of groceries, cleaning two homes, dressing and bathing yourself and your family member, and making extra medical appointments. It’s a lot of work for one person to handle, and you are only human. So it’s natural to feel stressed when these extra activities start to feel like a drain on your energy.
But of course, you don’t want to give up on caring for your family member if you can. They mean a lot to you, and you can’t imagine abandoning them. But you don’t have to! You just need to make sure that you keep your health needs in mind as well as your family member’s, and one of the best ways is to determine how you can best reduce your stress.
To start, here are four ways that might help.
1. Speak to your physician.
First, consider heading to your family physician to tell them about your levels of stress. If they’re high enough, you could be at risk of or have already developed depression. Not only will this interfere with your ability to care for your family member, but it will also interfere with your own life and enjoyment. You could end up feeling hopeless, losing interest in your previous hobbies, developing sleep difficulties, and even gaining inexplicable aches and pains. But your doctor may have suggestions to help you avoid the worst of depression.
They may recommend an antidepressant-like ELAVIL, which you can get for an affordable rate through a Approved Canadian pharmacy referral service. They’ll help you manage your symptoms so you can go back to caring for your family member and enjoying life again.
2. Do mindfulness therapy.
If prescription medication still sounds too costly for you, an excellent alternative is mindfulness therapy.
According to the academic journal Mindfulness, researchers observed two groups of caregivers, where one group received mindfulness intervention skills and another did not. The group that received mindfulness training indicated that they had significant improvement in their perceived stress and anxiety. They were able to use skills to cope. Some of which included focusing on their bodily sensations to remove or reduce emotional activity and on the present moment to minimize their anxieties over the future.
You can learn these skills too. Just look for a therapist who specializes in mindfulness skills, such as one who teaches cognitive behavioral therapy. Under that professional’s guidance, you’ll learn how you can help soothe your nerves while still caring for your family member.
3. Consider occasional respite care.
Sometimes the treatments above are just not enough. Your body can only handle so much stress for so long. When it hits its breaking point, no amount of calming medication or exercises is going to help.
Instead, what you’ll need at that point is rest. So look for nearby respite care services. They’re there to provide caregivers like yourself some short-term relief. To do that, they offer someone to help your family member in your place for a little bit while you take some time off to de-stress and relax.
Your family member’s health is important, but so is yours! After all, you can’t help them if you yourself become impaired. So if you need help, don’t hesitate to look for assistance from one or more of these methods.