As a caregiver, your role is 24/7, the constant care and thought that your role requires prevents you from the luxury of being able to switch off.
Coupled with the ‘hectic-ness’ of the role, you are usually maneuvering from task to task, you may not have the capacity or feel like it’s necessary to incorporate time for yourself to unwind and reset. With this in mind, you are susceptible to feelings of tiredness, sadness, loneliness and high stress levels.
The emphasis of minimizing stress is vital to ensure that you maintain thriving mental health which can promote increased energy, clarity, and better sleep.
As a result of you being overworked, you may begin to experience burnout. Burnout can be exhibited as anxiety, depression, short temper, irritability, and much more.
You may begin to adopt unhealthy coping habits and mechanisms that may be a cause of concern like neglecting your personal hygiene, seeking comfort in food, alcohol, insomnia, and to the extreme cases suicidal ideation to name a few.
Once you experience any of these symptoms, it may be time to seek professional help.
As a caregiver, it would tremendously benefit you to make regular visits to your primary doctor, eat healthy foods, do some kind of exercise however small. This may not always be possible, strive to get to bed as early as you can.
When you are fully rested, you reset, and are ready to face the day. Your own health is just as important. If you are not in good physical health, you will not be able to take care of your spouse to your best ability.
Do you feel like sometimes you can’t go on anymore, overwhelmed, feel like there is too much you can’t do? There are a few ways you can get help to work through the overwhelm.
One method is psychotherapy – dialogue between you and the psychotherapist. It helps you break down your thoughts and feelings.
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There are different approaches in psychotherapy some of which include cognitive-behavioral therapies, psychoanalytic approach, and psychodynamic therapy. Unfortunately, psychotherapy has a negative connotation attached that only broken people need it.
This is NOT true. There are many benefits of learning to deal with your thoughts including identifying the triggers of bad thoughts, how to deal with the triggers, clarity, relief from anxiety, some forms of depression, and much more. Inquire from your primary physician about the psychotherapy resources available in your area.
You can also seek the services of a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are qualified in psychiatry. They diagnose illness, manage treatment and provide a range of therapies for complex and serious mental illness.
Psychiatrists deal with more complex conditions such as suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide, and bipolar disorders to name a few. Psychiatrists prescribe medication, while psychotherapists do not.
On the surface, it may seem scary to pay a ‘stranger’ to talk through your challenges, but a ‘stranger’ provides a judgement free zone, helps you map out the best possible strategy to tackle those challenges. In addition to providing you with an objective perspective that a family member/friend may not be able to provide.
It is important to remember that the goal of seeking professional help is to feel better. You become a better person, a better caregiver, parent, and spouse when you feel your best. Granted, as a caregiver the challenges you’re experiencing may never cease, but by seeking help, you are able to gain healthier coping mechanisms.