Care-heart Stress… What I Do

After yesterday’s post, I decided I want to share some of my “coping methods” when dealing with the stress that comes from being a caregiver.

{When I was in college, I wrote some really awesome papers and filled out assignment sheets for ways I would deal with stress and avoid burnout… the only problem being, I did not actually do those things. I could work myself ragged and get by on my own and be just fine! Well, I was wrong. The results of my attitude weren’t pretty. It is so much easier to prevent burnout than to recover from it.} 

Now this little list is just from my experience, some things I have learned I need to do, shared so I will remember them and hopefully so they will be helpful and encouraging to you!

As a caregiver… 

I need to breathe. Yes, sometimes I need to be reminded to just slow down, and breathe, and remember that God is near. When I feel tense and rushed and impatient, just stepping out of the room for a tiny break from the situation makes all the difference.

I need to listen to music. When going to and from shifts, especially, or at the end of the day. It lifts my spirits and helps me relax, worship, and set up a boundary between work and the rest of life. Sometimes just singing along to a fun song can be the best thing.

I need my friends. Ohhh boy do I ever. These wonderful people never fail to bring me joy and support when I need it the most… in fact, on some of my hardest days of caregiving, somehow after I get off that shift I always had a text from someone, wondering what I was doing, wanting me to come hang out. How did they know I just needed to be with them, in the healthy environment of fellowship??? Well, God knew. We laugh and eat and joke together. A special few know to provide me with Dr. Pepper. And some of my old roommates, well they are great at giving hugs and back rubs when necessary. 🙂

I need to be creative and do things for fun. This is really important (why? Oh, sanity maybe), but is often the first thing to be sacrificed by a caregiver. A caregiver may not have to be innovative and squeeze in activities they are able to do. For me, a few things are baking, going for walks, drawing, making crafts, reading… I know, sometimes it gets CRAZY! Ha. But really. I need to just do some therapeutic doodling, or whatever, on a regular basis.

I need to have a bedtime routine. When stressful things come along, and they will, feelings of anxiety and depression can be overwhelming. I know that for caregivers, sleep can be hard to come by. It is tempting to either stay up too late to enjoy some rare alone time, or to crash into bed only to find that although your body is worn out, your mind is still racing a mile a minute over things out of your control. 

This is something that I am dealing with right now, because sleep has been a struggle lately. I need to spend time with my Father at night, I need to spend time reflecting on and writing down the day’s gifts, I need to put down everything that is on my mind… casting all my cares and worries on Him, because He cares for me… so I can sleep in peace and security. 

I need to exercise and eat healthy. Not so good at this… I’m not consistent at all… doesn’t make it less true though. 😉  

I need to talk it out. I can’t just keep the weight of it all inside. Journaling, praying, sharing things with other caregivers and the supporting staff, letting a friend or roommie know I am struggling. (Reminder: respect confidentiality.)

I need to hear words of love and truth. To be reminded and encouraged. And no, I probably won’t feel up to an intense Bible study. At those times of exhaustion and stress, I need the Word close to me, in my heart, and I need to see it on sticky notes on my mirror and in my car. I also keep a little collection of thank-you’s and nice compliments people have given me as a caregiver, it helps to read back through and be reminded that I am a wonderful person. 😉 Actually it just helps to refresh my memory as to why I do this!

{For more about caregiver stress, this website is very helpful- lots of articles, tips, and quizzes to evaluate your level of stress.}

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4 thoughts on “Care-heart Stress… What I Do

  1. Pingback: Care-heart hurting | Egg thoughts, etc.

  2. Beautiful post… and thought provoking as well. I LOVE all of your “de-stressing” thoughts. I can certainly use them in my daily life! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a lovely comment as well. Many blessings to you Frances!

    • Thank you! Glad to hear that the ideas are useful to you! It is easy to forget some of those little things.. at least it is for me.. and get busy and preoccupied, but then notice that who you are is starting to suffer!
      Hope the new year is going well for you so far, look forward to seeing more of your creativity on Fridays! 🙂 Thanks again for your comment! ~Frances

  3. Pingback: Friday Doodles | Egg thoughts, etc.

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