According to Merriam-Webster the definition of stress is:
A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
Being in a caregiving role, no matter what kind of caregiving you provide, is stressful. If you are a caregiver you have experienced more stress in your life than you ever imagined possible.
Some caregivers experience feelings of abandonment from family members and occasionally by friends. The stress related to these feelings can lead to the caregiver becoming ill themselves because they feel alone and don’t have any idea where to turn or who to turn to.
It’s a fact that when a person becomes extremely stressed they can become depressed, develop chronic pain, high blood pressure, heart disease and various viruses due to a suppressed immune system, and this is just naming a few of the many health problems caregivers can experience.
When stress takes over it also causes impatience which leads to anger. If you, the caregiver, are experiencing anger towards the person you’re caring for, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate your situation. Walk yourself through these questions:
1 – What exactly is making me angry?
2 – How am I handling my anger?
3 – Is there another way to release my anger?
Whatever you do, don’t suppress your anger, that only causes more stress. Instead, find a support group or a counselor specifically trained in helping caregivers. Here are a few places to check out: National Caregivers Library, Alzheimer’s Association, and Help Guide.
If your situation allows, take 15 minutes and go for a walk. Just being outside and getting some fresh air can clear the senses and lessen your stress.
Remember, taking care of yourself is the only way you can provide the caregiving your loved one needs.