Reducing the stress of caring
Being a carer can be stressful, but listing the caring tasks you undertake which cause or trigger stress may help. Prioritise your tasks and identify what resources are available to you that can help reduce stress.
- Ask family members for help - talk to them regularly and include them in your care decisions.
- Share duties - make a list of weekly care tasks and share this list with your family, ask them for help with food shopping, housekeeping and errands.
- Stay social - make time for activities with friends, even if it’s just a phone call or coffee once a week.
- Join a support group - meeting other carers gives you an opportunity to share concerns and gain advice from those who are in a similar situation.
- Find respite care services - time away from the person you care for can give you an opportunity to practice stress management techniques and relax.
- Find local resources - hospitals and voluntary organisations may provide transportation and other support for caring tasks. Reduce your stress by planning ahead and using these resources when you’re feeling overstretched.
Take care of yourself
- Put your own health first - schedule regular health checks at your GP for yourself.
- Eat a balanced diet - eating a healthy diet will help sustain your energy levels and health.
- Take regular exercise - 30 minutes at least five times a week is ideal, break it down into 10 minute blocks to make it more manageable.
- Take a break - take time away from caring and spend time doing things you enjoy.
Speak to your doctor
The role of caring can be emotionally and physically draining, many carers are at risk of experiencing depression or anxiety. Don’t dismiss these feelings as ‘just stress’; if you’re struggling to cope with your caring role and your own emotions it may be time to seek professional advice. Speak to your doctor about any depressive emotions, anxiety or stress you are feeling. They can help you access counselling services or provide medical support.