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Managing Stress As A Caregiver

“1 in 3 caregivers reported being so stressed that performing average tasks seemed challenging.” Stress is not only haunting caregivers but people all around the world. Eighty percent of U.S. workers reported that they feel stressed about their jobs. Stress is an awakening problem that needs to be addressed for the betterment of people’s health. 

Stress is a natural human reaction we are all bound to face when we feel pressured or threatened. Often, we will encounter stress when faced with unforeseen obstacles or situations beyond our control. This feeling is a natural part of our lives and is to be expected as we live. However, when stress becomes debilitating to where it affects our daily lives, we should learn how to address it. Once we know how to manage it, we can be more prepared for life’s challenges. On the other hand, if we resort to unhealthy coping methods, managing stress can become strenuous and affect our well-being.  

Stress can arise from a multitude of problems that occur in our daily lives. The causes of stress are endless and can differ from person to person. Stress can be caused by work, relationship problems, financial issues, personal insecurities, and more. A time may come when everything in your life seems like it’s falling apart. All your problems appear to build upon each other simultaneously, and you feel like you are losing control. 

This feeling is natural, and you shouldn’t let it discourage you. You are often stronger than you think, and if you put your mind to it, you can learn how to overcome this. 

At times, stress can also be a helpful tool. Although it seems like a controversial statement, it’s true! Picture this situation – a student under pressure usually completes their work on time because stress brings up their fear of deadlines. On the contrary, a student under high pressure would complete zero tasks and spend the day feeling overwhelmed and anxious. 

We typically only discuss the danger of stress but never its benefits. A little amount of stress can be a good motivator and healthy even. In situations like losing your wallet or giving a public speech, stress can help motivate you to complete a time-sensitive task without delay. However, stress should not be an excuse that hinders you from taking action because unhealthy coping or extreme stress can turn the situation around.  

When you feel high levels of stress, you can feel unmotivated and tired. At times like this, your body is trying to tell you that it needs a break. Taking a break can benefit you and give you the time you need to recharge. Although, for most people, stress doesn’t end with taking a break. This can be due to feeling a different kind of stress. 

Stress consists of two types – acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress typically doesn’t last long, and its symptoms fade with the problem. It can occur when you are worried about getting to work late or missing the bus. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is more constant. It appears when you lose your job or fail your finals. Either way, you need to take healthy measures to keep your stress under control. Most people want to ignore their problems and indulge in harmful activities to numb their feelings. Some examples include: 

  • Drug & alocolhol usage 
  • Self-harm 
  • Negative talking about oneself 
  • Drinking too much caffeine
  • Overeating
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco, etc.

When your stress levels grow, it can also affect you physically. 

Stress can be identified by difficulty breathing, high blood pressure, stomach aches, headache, uncontrollable sweating, and shaking. Your body will return to its normal state once the stress has passed. In the case of chronic stress, finding a coping mechanism that works for you is crucial. 

Young depressed woman thinking about suicide near wall

Excessive stress/ Chronic stress can lead to physical and mental effects on one’s body. Effects of chronic stress include: 

Panic attacks: A brief episode that causes you to feel dizzy, hot, cold, or a racing heart. You may begin to sweat and feel your body begin to shake. You may feel like you’re in a different state of mind, and it can be an overwhelming, painful sensation. 

Irregular sleep: An irregular sleep schedule caused by sleep deprivation or oversleeping can also occur. Worrying can also keep you awake at night and tire you throughout the day. 

Weight gain or weight loss: Some people use eating as a coping mechanism to tame stress, while others lose their appetite. 

Losing interest and feeling burnout: Losing interest in the things you once enjoyed and being unmotivated to complete tasks. Withdrawing from others can also be another effect of burnout. 

Distracted: Finding it difficult to concentrate, refusing to stay still, and having difficulty recalling information.  

It’s better to recognize the symptoms of stress early and deal with them immediately. This way, you can help save yourself from unhealthy addictions.

If you are experiencing stress over a prolonged period, try following these tips: 

Breathe: It might sound obvious but take a moment to focus on your breathing. Inhale the problems and exhale the stress out of your body.  

Go for a run/walk: Try running outside, going on a walk, or visiting the gym. Even 15 minutes after a hard lesson/work can be greatly beneficial. Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress. 

Treat yourself: Treat yourself to something nice. A nice cup of tea or a hot relaxing bath can help you destress and relax. Remember that you are worthy of good things and that it is okay to be kind to yourself and feel the pleasures of life.  

“You” time: Taking quality time for yourself is probably the best way to live in the moment rather than stressing about the “what ifs.” What you choose to do during this time can be different for everyone. 

Journaling: Express your emotions by jotting down how you feel. Take some time to process your emotions and put them into words. Once you’re done, feel free to throw it away or keep it to yourself. 

These are some key points you can consider when dealing with stress. It can be helpful to change your perspective to a more optimistic one. 

In addition, always remember to be yourself. Trying to be someone other than yourself will only lead to more stress because it is unattainable. Try to embrace stress as a natural part of life. Use it for self-growth and development. Remember, you are the key to self-growth and development. As long as you try your best, that is all that matters. Do not worry about what others think because, in the end, their thoughts cannot affect you if you don’t let them. 

Additionally, it is okay to do things for yourself. Treating yourself out, taking time to do an activity you like, or even buying yourself a gift can help improve your mood and refocus. It is also okay to say no. If something is too much to handle, you don’t have to take on everything someone asks of you. Remember that you are a person as well, and you can’t help everyone. 

Always remember that every human is bound to go through stress at some point. With the right coping mechanisms, you can learn to overcome stress. However, seeking medical assistance can be a wise choice if you’re dealing with high levels of stress. A trained professional can help you become more aware of your feelings and provide you with suitable assistance.  

If your loved ones are suffering from stress, let them know that you are there for them. Make them feel comfortable and listen to their problems. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and patiently stay by their side. 

Be mindful of the fact that your health depends on your actions. Working your way to a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and getting proper sleep will keep your physical and mental health on track. It will help keep your stress levels low and lead you to a more fulfilling life. We must learn to take the downfalls as an opportunity to rise higher. Think of yourself as the flower that withstands the storm, and now is your time to bloom! 

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