How to Deal with the Stress of Taking Care of Terminally Sick Loved Ones
There are times in our lives where we may be tasked to care for a terminally sick parent or grandparent, or another person we are close with. While this is a very noble, and loving, endeavor, it is also very stressful and can cause both mental and physical issues. Some of the challenges faced by being a caregiver are feelings of helplessness, mental fatigue from always being the decision-maker, and possibly resentment for having to put your life on hold.
Knowing the signs that you are becoming over-stressed is a good place to start. Without being aware that your situation is causing a change in you mentally, you may not seek to implement the steps to make it better. When you are constantly feeling overly tired, gaining or losing weight rapidly, being angry and irritable over the slightest things, and constantly worried, it is time to reassess what is going on and look for help.
After you realize the stress of being a caregiver is becoming an issue, there are a few ways to change your environment in order to relieve yourself and help regain some of your mental well-being.
Sometimes when we are caring for a family member, it can feel like we are all alone, especially if you were an only child or the closest to a relative in location. One of the keys to not becoming overstressed is to know your limitations and your strengths and weaknesses. No one can handle every situation by themself. Seek out the resources you need to make your life and their’s easier.
You should not only assess your limitations where it comes to the care of your family member, but it is very important to know your limitations for mentally handling everything going on. Seek out support groups for people dealing with similar situations in order to not feel alienated. Reaching out to close friends and family is another way to vent any frustrations and also get alternative ideas to things that may be bogging you down.
Don’t Lose Yourself
One of the hardest things to do while caring for a loved one is to not forget your own personal health as well. Set goals for yourself like what you need to eat, or daily exercise and vitamins. Make sure to keep up with your own doctors’ appointments and not just those of your family member’s.
Set Realistic Goals
Taking too much on at once is the fastest way to feel overwhelmed. Taking long term goals and breaking them into smaller manageable tasks will not only help ease some anxiety, but it will also leave you feeling more accomplished as those goals are completed each day.
Caring for a terminally ill loved one can be one of the most loving, yet stressful things you will do in your life. If you are not taking the steps needed to make sure you are staying healthy, you will not be able to provide the care needed.