It’s a Monday afternoon, and you just received a call from your father’s neighbor that he had fallen outside. If his neighbor had not been walking her dog that morning, he might have not been able to get back up. The guilt is a lot, and maybe you’ve already had to leave work early a handful of times to go help your father. You want to be there for him as much as you can but sometimes it can become extremely stressful with work and everyday errands. You begin to notice that he needs more help than just making sure he isn’t falling. It’s the everyday activities he needs help with: cooking, cleaning, eating, remembering when to take medications, etc. And again, as much as you want to be the one taking care of him the stress is becoming too much.
Caring for someone is difficult. You want the absolute best care for them – someone who loves them just as much as you do looking after them. However, in the best interest of yourself and your loved ones health sometimes bringing in a caregiver is the best option. Stress can do unbelievable things to our bodies. It can make our physical and mental health take a dive. Sometimes we do not even realize we are under that much stress and pressure until we start seeing changes in our habits, thoughts, feelings, even bodies. One example of stress on the body is adrenal fatigue. Our adrenal glands produce necessary hormones, insufficiency of these hormones causes fatigue, body aches, weight loss, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, loss of hair, and skin discoloration. Inadequate levels of these hormones causing these symptoms is directly linked back to high levels of stress. Adrenal fatigue isn’t exactly a recognized diagnosis; therefore, there is nothing doctors can really do to help those who suffer from adrenal fatigue as a result of high stress levels. This is one reason why we need to destress and try to help ourselves before we can help others.
As much as we want to be the one caring for our parents, close family members, or close friends we cannot always take on these tasks. Finding a caregiver does not mean we love these people any less. It means we are coming to terms with the fact that we are only human and we need help. This decision is not only for our own health but for the health of those we love the most to ensure that they can live in a safe environment. Stress is something so serious and caring for a loved one can bring on large amounts of stress for many different reasons. One of the biggest – we don’t know what could happen when we are gone. In addition, leaving other obligations to help a loved one in need can bring on another tricky situation. Asking for help and allowing ourselves to receive it can help our mental and physical health.
Staying Ahead of Stress:
As stated above, sometimes we do not always realize how much stress and pressure we are under until we notice body changes or changes in our mental state. Staying ahead of stress can be helpful in the long run. One of the best ways is definitely finding the time to meditate or trying out yoga. However, we are all definitely not cut out for this… there are a couple other options that can work but are less time consuming and on a bit of a smaller scale.
1. Stress ball: using a stress ball can help us feel less tense because are continuously squeezing the ball which in turn releases energy and causes relaxation.
2. Breathing: like stress can cause unheard-of symptoms, believe it or not, taking a moment for deep relaxing breathing can help to calm us down immensely.
3. Visualization: imagine your happy place, maybe it’s the beach, the mountains, your favorite restaurant, whatever it is – imagine yourself there. Our minds have so much control and can do wonders for us but only if we allow that to happen and let our imagination calm us.
4. Coloring: from personal experience, using an adult coloring book has been one of the most effective stress-relievers. Although, coloring is not for everyone it is definitely something that is very soothing and calming.
Although these are only a few suggestions maybe one of them could work and help with destressing. It is important for us to remember that we need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone else. Sometimes we really do need to ask for help from others and that’s okay.
Nippoldt, M.D. Todd B. “Adrenal Fatigue: What Causes It?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 Apr. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/addisons-disease/expert-answers/adrenal-fatigue/faq-20057906.
“Signs That It May Be Time to Find an In-Home Caregiver.” Keystone In-Home Care, 27 Jan. 2016, www.keystoneinhomecare.com/signs-that-it-may-be-time-to-find-an-in-home-caregiver-for-your-loved-one/.
Greene, Lauren A. “Best and Worst Ways to Cope With Stress.” Health.com, www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20765943,00.html#best-visualize-calm-0.