It’s no secret that caregiving is stressful. Caregivers also manage stress in less healthy ways. For instance, caregivers are more likely to smoke to help cope with the pressure of caring for a loved one. Sometimes caregivers do things to relieve stress that end up causing more worry. If you shop as a way to unwind, you may avoid opening your credit card statements.
So, how can you relieve stress without causing more harm? Here are two techniques. These can help you change the way you react to stressful events.
When you are happy, a minor setback might not upset you. But when you are tense, a small mistake can seem like a big deal. Say you forget a doctor’s appointment. A worried caregiver might tell herself, “I’m a bad caregiver.” This type of thinking is dangerous. It can lead to depression. When you change how you look at your thoughts, you can respond with a healthier message. For instance, you might tell yourself, “Everyone makes mistakes. Forgetting one appointment does not make me a bad caregiver.”
The most important thing to remember is that small changes can go a long way. Try to find 15 minutes for yourself each day.