Caregiver Can Experience Mental Stress

Mental distress (or psychological distress) is a term used by mental health practitioners to describe a range of symptoms and experiences of a person’s inner life commonly held to be out of the ordinary. In the caregiving space, mental stress can lead to harm and injury and how care is provided to a loved one. Caregiving is mental, physical, and emotional. If unchecked, putting these three together can lead to disastrous outcomes.

Caregivers Must Be Proactive!

How a caregiver shows up in the caregiving space can determine how your care is rendered. It is necessary for a loved one or care recipient to feel safe and secure when care is delivered. When caring for individuals that are nonverbal, have cognitive decline, or have a high level of physical challenges, concentrated care is required to keep one safe. Paying attention while caregiving of this magnitude, day-in and day-out, is distressing. When there is a feeling of being trapped in the role, noted energy loss and general fatigue become apparent, it signals that help is needed. We have seen this with healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients. Strategies for overcoming challenges in caring for anyone start with the identification of personal emotions and feelings. When emotions are not addressed and put in check, caregiving suffers.

It is imperative to verbalize these feelings. This is a proactive step! Use your village to give you support so you can walk away and “just breathe.” Any negative emotions should be addressed to prevent harming a loved one or harming yourself. Finally, realize that medical mediations are the most robust consideration you can lean on. We are all humans, and watching or seeing someone with chronic health conditions that limit their abilities will take a toll on any compassionate soul. It is vital to learn how to better cope with stress and anxiety and the tools needed to keep calm and recharge.

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, pay attention to your feelings, emotions, level of energy, or lack of, and garnish all support. Your quality of life as a caregiver is just as important as the ones we care for and support.

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