How can I lower my stress levels as a caregiver?

7 answers | Last updated: Nov 04, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I'm a registered nurse working full-time, some nights I come home so stressed I can't even talk to my spouse who wants his turn of being cared for. I also live with upper extremity neuropathy and fibromyalgia and chronic back pain. How do I reduce stress? I have sleep problems especially when I have to work the next day.



Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

 I would suggest using a destressing yoga dvd.  Let your husband know you need these 30 minutes to yourself each night after work.  I don't want to reccomend a specific dvd because I don't want this to sound like an ad.  Not only will it allow you to let go of the stresses from work and focus on family, you may find some of the chronic pain lessening allowing you to sleep better at night.


Spockula answered...

I'm in similar situation. It's hard to explain that you need "alone" time after work, etc. I find it easier to just find the time when he's sleeping, or make time for myself. You just have to tell it like it is...either he gets it, or not. I think, in my case, he saw my better moods/spirits afterward. It's hard to enjoy this time, at first, but....it's healthy. The insomnia....I've had since age 9. Meds, & schedule only things that helped. Yes, when you know you have to wake next day...it's worse. I work 2nd shift now, & it helps w/ both issues!


Chica60 answered...

I was saying I don't have time to take care of myself. I used to exercise in the mornings, yoga or weight lifting but it has gone by the way side in the last 3 years, my mom fell and broke him hip two years ago and lives with us now. However, I stood up yesterday to walk into my bosses office and it felt like someone had stabbed me in my left buttock. I knew my back & neck were getting sore but I could hardly walk yesterday. I had a talk with my husband and mother. I need 30 minutes in the morning to do my yoga uninterrupted. I get up at 5:30 and start breakfast every day. Mom gets up same time but it takes her 1/2 hr to toilet and dress herself, I asked her to wait until I called her to come to breakfast and my husband and the 2 dogs who get up anywhere from 5:30-6:30 I asked him to stay in bed until 6:00 as well. I love my mom, when I told her I was having back problems she said I wasn't to lift her anymore, that she would use her bedside commode, bless her. She tries to stay as independent as possible.


Spockula answered...

Yes, you just have to schedule in "me time" when you can. Once you're into a routine....it ends up better for all involved!


Pollytnjc answered...

Hi I am finding similar concerns. I have not been able to exersize (not that I got a lot to start with, but absolutely none now), go to the movies when I want to, or even get my nails done occasionally. These are things I used to do to relax/treat myself. I recently had a panic attack in my sleep, and my doctor felt I had too much going on and needed some help. He put me on a mild anti-depressant and suggested that since my mother is able to stay by herself for blocks of time, that I carve out 2 hours on the weekend where I go for a walk or movie or do something without her. I am already paying someone to stay with her 2 afternoons a week while I'm at work so she has someone to be with besides me which is a great help, altho expensive. So he thought perhaps I might consider adding a few hours with her caregiver on the weekends if I can, or switching some of the weekday hours to the occasional weekend so I can do things at home and the caregiver can take her out. I'm going to look into this, because as much as I love my mother and enjoy her company, we both need a break. We are both new to this community also(I moved here less than a year ago for a job) so it is all new which means neither of us have a big support network. I am one of two children, and my brother does little or nothing to help. The reality is I have little time for myself, but if something happens to me, then what happens to her? I think this is something you have to live to truly understand which is why many siblings who aren't involved don't seem to understand the needs of the caregiver.


A fellow caregiver answered...

I really shouldn't be talking - but all the advice in the world will do you no good unless you actually take the time and do something for yourself to relieve the stress. Look at your schedule and "carve out" a little bit of time several times a week for YOU. Let the other family members know WHY you are doing this (in advance), so if they ask for any type of help during these times, you can let them know that this is your "self" time, and to call later. Hope this helps.


Ptcruzr answered...

My mom currently lives with my sister and I take care of the day to day concerns of mom. This has been going on for almost 4 years now. This week, my sister and I decided to split mom care. Mom will stay with me for 3-4 weeks and go back with my sister 3-4 weeks, until such time as we can no longer do this. Mom is happy with this solution. But I know this will change my life for the better. Recently, I have been going to mom's house every day for 1-3 hours and one evening per week. I was gone more than I was home during the day. But now when I have the "free weeks" I know mom will call me and want me at my sister's house as my sister works. My sister and I have both decided that we need to refer mom back to the person who is in charge during that time. So that we can both enjoy our respite time. I really hope this solution works because I'm soon going to be a grandmother again and so want some "free time" to enjoy that.
But when mom is here, I've also scheduled some lunches with friends, dinner dates with husband, etc. to insure that this burnout thing doesn't have a chance to get to me again. On May 1 mom will come here to stay for 3 weeks and she is already wanting me to come down to help her get ready...(that's just an excuse for her to have someone else around. I told her "not today" as I'm still trying to get her room ready) Does anyone else notice this neediness to have someone around all of the time? Mom can do some things for herself but would rather someone else do them.