12 Strategies for Controlling Stress

Wednesday, 27 July, 2016

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Here are some tips for reducing stress related to caregiving:

  • Use respite and healthcare resources available to you. Taking a break, and ensuring your loved one is well cared for is one of the best ways to reduce stress.
  • If you need financial help, don't be afraid to ask family members to contribute their fair share.
  • Say "no" to requests that are draining and stressful, such as hosting holiday meals.
  • Forgive yourself for your imperfections. There is no such thing as a "perfect" caregiver.
  • Identify what you can and cannot change. You may not be able to change someone else's behavior, but you can change the way that you react to it.
  • Set realistic goals. Break large tasks into smaller steps that you can do one at a time.
  • Prioritize, make lists, and establish a daily routine.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends and make time for yourself.
  • Join a support group for caregivers. If your loved one has a particular affliction, such as Alzheimer's or dementia, look for a support group targeted at that disease.
  • Make time to be physically active on most days, even if it's a short walk. Eat a healthy well-balanced diet and get enough sleep.
  • See your doctor regularly for checkups.
  • Keep your sense of humor and practice positive thinking.
  • Find out about caregiving resources in your community. Your Area Agency on Aging is a great, free resource.
  • If you work outside the home, consider taking a break from your job. Employees covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act may be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for relatives.