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3 Simple Tips to Prevent Caregiver Stress

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One of the main concerns in the medical field about people who become caregivers for someone with a terminal illness is one condition called caregiver burnout, also known as caregiver stress. According to Mayo Clinic, “Caregiver stress is the emotional and physical strain of caregiving. Individuals who experience the most caregiver stress are the most vulnerable to changes in their own health.”

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When a person becomes the main source of support in the life of someone with a  terminal illness, he may tend to put his own needs to the side to be able to take care of the other person. This practice, as well-intentioned as it is, may not be the right thing to do. By doing that, the caregiver will be putting his own health at risk which, in the end, will not only prevent him from offering the other person the support he needs but will also jeopardize his own well-being.

According to Mayo Clinic, some of the symptoms of caregiver stress are:

  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Feeling overwhelmed and irritable
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Gaining or losing a lot of weight
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Uncontrolled anxiety
  • Depression

If you are currently taking care of someone with terminal illness and feel like your health has started to deteriorate with the pass of the months, or you identify yourself with some of the symptoms mentioned above, continue reading.

Below, I will share with you three simple tips you can follow to prevent caregiver stress.

Tip #1: Understand that you are not a superhero in charge of saving the world at the expenses of your own life. 
This is a very important thing to remember. The fact that you are providing support to a sick person doesn’t mean that you have to put your own life on hold or in jeopardy. Think about yourself as well. Do what you can, but without putting your mental, emotional, and physical health at risk.

Tip #2: Ask for help. 
Don’t think you have to do everything by yourself. I am sure if you ask other people for help, they will be more than happy to give you a hand. The more people you recruit to help out, the less stress you or them will experience.

Tip #3: Visit your doctor regularly. 
Make sure you keep up with your own doctor’s appointments, tests, labs, etc. The point here is to keep yourself healthy, that way you can provide the support the other person needs.

Unfortunately, if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will do it for you. As you can see, caregiver stress is a very serious condition that could affect anyone.

If you are experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned above, you need to consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Getty photo by simonapilolla

Originally published: April 8, 2019
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