All Care will be publishing a Caregiver Stress Blog series which will cover the definition of caregiver stress, sign & symptoms, tips to control caregiver stress, as well as explore resources to help manage and avoid caregiver stress.
Part II: Signs & Symptoms of Caregiver Stress
As a caregiver it’s easy to forget about or put aside your own needs for your loved one. As difficult as it may seem, you have to put your needs first in order to provide the best care possible for your loved one and truth be told, they will be better for it! When you forego your own physical and emotional needs you’re likely to be afflicted with caregiver stress which can lead to caregiver burnout which can lead to no good!
There are both physical and emotion signs of caregiver stress that manifest themselves differently in each individual. Some symptoms of caregiver stress include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Loss of energy or feel tired most of the time
- Weight fluctuation
- Missing your own doctor’s appointments, ignoring own health problems
- Losing interest in social activities or other hobbies
- Loss of patience, irritability
- Using unhealthy coping mechanisms like excessive drinking or smoking
- Muscle tension in neck, shoulders, and back
Now, those all might seem like predicable side effects of increased stress levels but did you know caregiver stress can manifest in some other unusual symptoms like hair loss, increased perspiration, road rage, skin disease, periodontal disease, reproductive issues, or lack of libido? Those are symptoms anyone would hope to avoid!
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, even just two or three, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible, there are many options available to help manage and avoid caregiver stress and burnout.
It is never selfish to take care of yourself. In fact, if you ignore your own needs or desires you are actually compromising the care you are providing so it’s imperative to take an initiative with your physical and emotional health. There can be lasting effects from long term caregiving, be sure to attend to your own emotional and physical needs so you have cherished memories of a special time rather than feelings of guilt or resentment.
Be sure to check out next week’s installment of our Caregiver Stress Blog Series which will explore different tips, tactics, and approaches to avoid and manage Caregiver Stress.