April is stress awareness month and the pandemic has increased the stress of family caregivers.
Springpoint at Home is dedicated to helping family caregivers this month and every month of the year with our committed staff of private duty home health aides, Care Manager/Aging Life Care Advisor™.
As a caregiver, it is important to not bury your stress in the “don’t think about it” little black box of your brain. The key is to shine a light on the source of your stress. With acknowledgement comes acceptance and that is important to managing stress.
When you acknowledge stress and its sources, you can take steps to mitigate it, to find and lean into the good moments in your life. Good moments increase your happiness and help you cultivate optimism, both of which are stress relievers.
Family caregivers often compare their life to that of being on a roller coaster. In the day to day ups and downs of emotions and our loved ones’ ever changing needs, it can be difficult to recognize happiness and cultivate it. Too often we are caught in a loop of awful decisions.
To reconnect with happiness, think about what gave you joy as a child. Was it listening to loud music while dancing around the house? Was it splashing in mud puddles? Was it coloring, reading or baking cookies with your mom? As we take on the mantel of caregiving, too often we put aside what brings us joy. Reconnecting with what made us happy in childhood is a great way to recapture happiness as an adult. Maybe now we have earbuds in while we are dancing or splashing in mud is now like a walk in the rain. The key is to reconnect with happiness.
Happiness is like optimism. It increases as you work at the practice of daily gratitude. You increase it by starting a conversation with a positive thought instead of a negative one and by random acts of kindness.
Optimism = Positivity
How do you cultivate an expectation that things will get better and good things will happen? Some folks are naturally optimistic, but experts say we can unlearn pessimism through reframing negative thoughts. Being mindful allows us to see the good around us and not keep the focus on the negative thoughts in our heads. When we feel helpless, we get stuck in negative thoughts. One way to feel in control is to volunteer. The Volunteer Match website has hundreds of opportunities that you can do from a computer at home.
Practicing healthy behaviors, like eating right and getting enough exercise, is a characteristic of optimists. It is not a surprise that these behaviors are also stress relievers. Cultivating social connections, even those online, help our emotional and physical health. Online social connections are the very ones that can give you an opportunity for respite.
Ask for help
When you shine a light on the source of your stress, you open yourself up to the possibility of help from others. When you are optimistic, you receive the help you need without letting negative thoughts stop you from reaching out.
Let’s be honest. Managing two households, a full-time job and family will have sources of stress that even the happiest and most positive of people will have difficulty managing. This is where the Springpoint at Home team of Registered Nurses, Care Managers/Aging Life Care Advisors™ and private duty home health aides help. Knowing that your loved one has someone with them while you are at work or someone to accompany them to the doctor and report back to you is a huge stress relief. These professionals help you respond to a crisis and can alleviate fears with the rich reserve of resources at their fingertips. If you or someone you know is struggling, please give Springpoint at Home a call at 844-724-1777.