Whether it’s because of work or family demands, one thing is for sure – many of us are stressed. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done. According to the American Institute of Stress, the main cause of stress is workload.
Stress is especially difficult to manage in today’s world where many people find themselves not only working full time, and raising a family, and homeschooling their children because of COVID; they are also taking on the responsibility of caring for elderly parents and relatives. Known as the “sandwich generation,” these individuals are managing multiple priorities and the stressors that follow.
Multiple studies in the US report that more than half of Americans say they experience high levels of stress and fatigue. Not only does stress raise your blood pressure and increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes, stress also kills brain cells. In an article titled “The Effects of Caregiver Stress on the Body and Brain,” the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center points out that the pressure of being a caregiver can impact the “mind, mood and overall physical health.” Stress has been shown to shrink the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for memory, planning, and problem solving. A review of the scientific literature on stress and dementia risk by the Alzheimer’s Society concluded that “stress could play a role in dementia development.”
Chronic stress poses serious risks for both physical and mental health. It may feel that there’s no time to relax when you’re busy caring for others but you must remember to take care of yourself also!
Home to Stay encourages everyone to remember to take time for themselves! Don’t forget to:
Watch out for the signs of caregiver burnout
Be aware of your mood. Burnout can manifest as isolation, irritability, fearfulness, anger, anxiety and frustration. You may also experience physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, weight gain/loss, stomach and sleep disturbances.
Schedule routine wellness exams
Routine checkups are crucial for prevention/early intervention of a number of illnesses. Your doctor can monitor your blood pressure, blood work and stress levels to ensure your numbers stay healthy! AARP also suggests you tell your physician that you’re a caregiver and bring up any concerns you may have.
Fresh air and exercise are proven to have a positive impact on health and overall feelings of wellbeing. Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Exercise also reduces levels of cortisol and adrenaline, which are the body’s stress hormones.
Stop striving for perfection
Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can regardless of the circumstances. “Many caregivers expect their involvement to have a positive effect on the health and happiness of the patient. This may be unrealistic for patients suffering from a progressive disease, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.” – Caregiving: Recognizing Burnout, Cleveland Clinic
Explore community resources
Home to Stay Senior Care Solutions strives to help reduce caregiver stress through ongoing support, training, and our exclusive AlzBetter At Home program. We aim to make life easier and meaningful for the entire family so that you can RELAX!
Our Mindfulness and Mimosas event was held at Laurel Acres Park on Saturday, September 19th.
It was a relaxing morning of guided Integral Hatha Yoga and meditation in a serene outdoor.