As we turn in to the fall season, leaves change color, the weather will begin to cool, and it is a perfect time to turn inward for yourself and your emotions. You've been running the gamete of caregiving from taking your loved one to appointments, speaking with doctors, consulting with elder care experts perhaps on next steps for life planning. Not to mention the day to day interactions of communications and emotions that get stirred up.
We've talked about the importance of taking a few minutes to 'breathe' and step away from the situation long enough to recenter and refocus. All of us have stress to a degree; it's life. Family caregiving can take the pressure many people have and amplify it to the degree that often we aren't even aware of the stress it is creating. Ironic, yes? But we tend to put our hats on and go forth into our days and keep going, and going, and……..tilt.
We become so used to running on the stress that we don't even realize it is stress. It becomes 'normal,' but the effects can create issues emotionally and physically. Becoming aware of what is happening at the moment is essential, so paying attention to how many times you've had that headache, or felt an upset stomach, or have been so tired you can't think straight are big signs.
How do you eliminate it? I wish my magic wand were charged up, I would gladly share it with you. I'm afraid it takes a bit of work and observation, but some simple solutions may help:
Breathing Technique: Inhale through your nose for the count of four, hold for the count of seven, and exhale through the nose for a count of eight. Repeat this as long as you need until you feel your body slow down and relax.
Communicating: Being able to talk with your loved one, or family and friends that are involved in your life are critical when you're in a stressful situation. Assuming that people will 'get it' and understand is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. If you are tired and drained, tell someone. If you feel like your going to rip someones head off, ask for respite for yourself. If you're unable to get out or need someone neutral to talk to, consider joining us in our private Facebook group. It can be a safe place to just….' be.'
By all means, if you are having health symptoms, please check with your doctor. Some of those symptoms could be hiding underlying issues, so it's best to hear from a professional whether a walk-a-day will cure it or if you need to add in a few supplements to help pull you back up.