How can I tell if care giving is putting too much stress on me?
Common signs of caregiver stress include the following:
- Feeling sad or moody
- Crying more often than you used to
- Having low energy level
- Feeling like you don't have any time to yourself
- Having trouble sleeping, or not wanting to get out of bed in the morning
- Having trouble eating, or eating too much
- Seeing friends or relatives less often than you used to
- Losing interest in your hobbies or the things you used to do with friends or family
- Feeling angry at the person you are caring for or at other people or situations
In addition, you may not get any thanks from the person you are caring for. This may add to your feelings of stress and frustration.
What should I do if I'm feeling overwhelmed and stressed?
These feelings are not wrong or strange. Care giving can be very stressful. Because being a caregiver is so hard, some doctors think of caregivers as "hidden patients". If you don't take care of yourself and stay well, you won't be able to help anyone else.
Talk with your family doctor about your feelings. Stay in touch with your friends and family members. Ask them for help in giving care. Asking for help doesn't make you a failure.
Look for help in your community. You may start by asking your church or synagogue if they have services or volunteers who can help you. You can also ask for help from support organizations (see our "Links & Community Resources" page or take advantage of one of the North Star Lodge "Patient & Caregiver Support Groups".