Female Caregiver Stress: Tips to Take Care of Yourself
There is this idea that women are natural caregivers. And while this may only be partially true, women tend to be responsible for most unpaid labour, such as caregiving for elderly family members and children as well as domestic responsibilities. Although caregiving can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be stressful – female caregiver stress is very common.
It’s important for caregivers to remember to take care of themselves in order to be able to effectively care for others in their life.
Signs of Female Caregiver Stress
It’s easy for caregivers to neglect their own health when they’re focused on caring for others. But long-term stress can have a negative impact on a person’s physical and mental wellness. So, it’s important to pay attention to signs of stress, such as:
- Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
- Feeling tired often
- Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep
- Gaining or losing weight
- Becoming easily irritated or angry
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling sad
- Having frequent headaches, bodily pain or other physical problems
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
Tips to Take Care of Yourself – Managing Caregiver Stress
- Acknowledge your limits. It’s easy to feel guilty if we feel like we aren’t doing enough. Know that this feeling is normal and that while we want to provide the best support to our loved ones, no one is perfect. We are also better able to provide support when we meet our own needs first. Learn more about accepting imperfection.
- Accept help. It’s common for caregivers to believe they need to provide all the support themselves. There are times where we cannot do everything and we need to accept support from others in our lives. It’s also important to recognize that situations where professional support may be necessary. If you think you may need to speak to a counsellor, reach out to Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych & Associates today to book a consultation.
- Stay connected. It’s important to have connections with other people in our lives who are supportive. Whether that be social support from friends or family members, or more organized support groups.
- Set personal health goals. Maintaining our physical health will help us to better manage our mental health. So, set personal health goals that will help you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as establishing a good sleep routine, staying active, drinking lots of water, and eating healthy.
- Prioritize self-care. Personal health goals can be self-care but it’s important to make time for the things in our life that are important to us. When we are focused on the needs of others, or are experiencing periods of stress, it can be easy to let these things slide. Learn more about self-care or join our self-care challenge.
- Be kind to yourself. It’s common for caregivers to experience anger or frustration from time to time, which can make them feel guilty. Know that these feelings are normal and that you deserve kindness and patience. Also, consider sharing your feelings with a trusted loved one or journaling. Learn more about being self-compassionate on our blog or join our self-compassion challenge.
- Consider incorporating gratitude practice. Gratitude is a practice that can have a significant impact on our overall psychological mental health or wellness, and it is one of the simplest practices to adopt. Learn how to practice gratitude with Dr. Joti.
Remember that you’re not alone. It’s common for caregivers to have a challenging time asking for help which can lead to feeling further isolated, frustrated and even depressed.
While it can be rewarding to be a caregiver, it can also be incredibly challenging and cause a significant amount of stress, especially for female caregivers. This year has been particularly hard on everyone so it’s more important than ever to ensure that we prioritize our own needs so we are better able to support our loved ones. Remember it does not mean you have failed or that you’re weak if you need to reach out for support. We always manage things better as a community.
There are many types of mental health professionals. We’ll explain the difference to help you make an informed decision.
Any changes to medications should always be discussed with your physician, but it can be helpful to go into these conversations armed with information.