Caregiving and Mental Health

The stress of caring for a loved one can take a toll on your mental health and even impact your physical health. When left unmanaged, this can lead to burnout. Here’s how to tell if caregiving may be negatively affecting your mental health, and steps you can take to improve your mental well-being.

Mental health

How to Make Your Mental Well-Being a Priority

 

The stress of caring for a loved one can take a toll on your mental health and even impact your physical health. When left unmanaged, this can lead to burnout. Here’s how to tell if caregiving may be negatively affecting your mental health, and steps you can take to improve your mental well-being.

 

Signs that stress is affecting your mental health

Caring for a loved one can be challenging and stressful. It’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling so you can address any concerns before your mental health takes a big hit. The following are signs that the stress of caregiving may be affecting your mental health.

 

  • You feel like providing care for your loved one is more than you can manage
  • You notice a change in your sleeping or eating habits
  • The activities you used to enjoy don’t seem as appealing
  • You feel sad, angry, anxious, irritable, or hopeless
  • You feel mentally and/or physically exhausted
  • You have trouble concentrating
  • You stop taking care of yourself

 

How to manage stress and support your mental health

Just because you’re caring for someone else, doesn’t mean your own health and wellness stop being important. If the stress of caregiving is affecting your mental health, try these tips.

 

  • Eat healthy to give you steady energy throughout the day so you’re prepared to take on the day’s demands
  • Get exercise, even if it’s just going for a walk. Physical activity can make you feel energized and help you manage stress, and it gives you a great opportunity to spend some time out of the house.
  • Get enough sleep. Adults often need 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night. Getting enough quality sleep will help you stay energized throughout the day and help improve your mood and ability to handle stress.
  • Make time for yourself and activities you enjoy.
  • Ask for help. You don’t have to manage your mental health alone. Talk to friends or join a support group for help coping with the stress of caregiving.
  • Focus on the things you can control, like how you react to situations.
  • Remember that small wins matter. You don’t have to be a superhero or a perfect person to make your loved one feel supported, cared about, and comfortable.

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