“A recent study has confirmed what many of us already know: that caregiving is one of the most stressful occupations in North America. This study found that caregivers are the third most stressed group in America behind the obese and the depressed. Coincidentally, these are two issues that many caregivers are at risk for; this only amplifies the already high stress level of caregivers.” Homecare Assistance
“Caregivers are not only more likely to report stress than other groups; they also report it at higher levels,” said Caring.com senior editor Paul Spencer Scott. “Caregivers are more likely than the general public to have a chronic illness (82 percent vs. 61 percent) and to rate their own health as fair or poor (34 percent vs. 20 percent). Caregivers also appear to manage stress in less healthy ways than the general population.”
It is more important now than ever to take time out of your day to take steps toward protecting your health and avoiding caregiver burnout. The ability to provide care to another individual is an invaluable service to society, but the caregiver and their patient’s health need to be of equal importance.
Other interesting findings garnered from this report are that people still refuse to accept how stress affects their daily lives. Nearly one third of those polled do not believe that stress affects their physical or mental health. Tests have proven that the truth is quite the opposite; reduction of stress is a major step towards a healthier lifestyle.
1. How often do you get a good night’s sleep of seven or more hours?
2. How often do you include a “leisure” activity in your day?
3. How often do you lose your temper with others?
4. How often do you actually feel happy?
These are only a few of the obvious self-checks. Honestly ask yourself, are you really fit to care for someone less physically able, less mentally clear, more fragile than you, and in need of loving support if you aren’t up to basic self care? Can you give yourself the gift of some small changes to your life so you can do the most profound of loving service tasks for another? You don’t need to stop, just add a little fun and relaxation.
Please give yourself a chance. Read one of the recent books on happiness projects. Look into the reality of mental stress and the toll it takes, the diseases it can invite to your body, and the really serious physical results. Focus on the reality, then focus on something happy.
Listen to some good jokes and laugh each day. Make a plan for adding one light or fun thing to your day. And precede your visit with the person to whom you provide home care or senior care with some personal care, too. Small efforts can make a big difference here over time. It will be more pleasant for you both!