According to the Mayo Clinic, anxiety can be normal in stressful situations like public speaking or taking a test. But, anxiety can be termed a “disorder” when excessive worry, intrusive thoughts, fatigue, and other physical and mental manifestations occur that get in the way of you living your daily life.
Causes of Anxiety as a Caregiver
It can be difficult for someone experiencing high-functioning anxiety to articulate what it feels like, and it’s not always easy to pinpoint the root cause. However, Memorial Sloan Kettering has said that these are some common causes of anxiety in caregivers:
- Managing many responsibilities.
- Having to do medical tasks you aren’t prepared for.
- Feeling like you don’t have control over your own life.
- Concerns about your loved one’s well-being.
- Uncertainty about the future.
- Not having enough support from your family, friends, healthcare team, or other people in your life.
How to Manage Your Anxiety
Anxiety not only affects your mood, but it can also affect your health and the care you provide to your loved one. This is why it’s essential to take care of yourself. As a caregiver, you may be handling a lot of important tasks. However, balancing all these tasks while making sure you have enough time to focus on your needs can be very hard.
Caregivers often feel guilty or selfish for taking time for themselves. Some are afraid that something will happen to their loved one if they aren’t there. But, if you need to be a caregiver for an extended period of time, you have to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you will soon feel like you’re too stressed or tired to do anything and won’t be able to do the vital work of caregiving.
Here are some things you can do to lessen your anxiety as a caregiver.
- Ask for help and accept it. Ask your friends and family members for help with household chores or with preparing meals. When people offer their help, take it. Feeling guilty about accepting help is normal, but needing support isn’t a sign of weakness or failure. On the contrary, the less overwhelmed you feel, the better you’ll be able to take of yourself and your loved one.
- Prioritize tasks. Being a caregiver comes with many responsibilities, such as managing medications, cooking, handling paperwork, scheduling appointments, monitoring symptoms, and much more. It may feel like you need to do all these tasks at once, but that’s impossible. Choosing what you need to do first will help you stay organized and feel less overwhelmed.
- Make time for yourself. Balancing your own responsibilities with your caregiving role can make taking care of yourself feel impossible. Making time for yourself will not only make you feel better, but will also help you take better care of your loved one.
- Do some light physical activity. Light physical activity can be going for a walk or a short bike ride. Physical activity can help improve your mood and relieve stress. Talk with your doctor before starting new exercises.
- Spend time with friends and family. It’s essential to create a support system for yourself as a caregiver. Anxiety and your caregiving responsibilities can make this feel hard to do, but staying connected to people who can support and talk with you about your experience can help reduce stress and make you feel better.
- Medication. If your anxiety is getting in the way of your daily activities, medication may be helpful. Many medications can help improve your mood and treat your anxiety. For more information, talk with your healthcare provider.
- Find out if your workplace has an employee assistance program (EAP). EAPs can differ depending on where you work, but they often include counseling for stress, anxiety, and depression.
Respite Care Lessens Caregiver Anxiety
If you would like a professional caregiver to step in for a few hours a day or a few days a week, Dependable Senior Care is there for you. Our respite care services can give you the time to step back for a short while and help you feel your anxiety slipping away. Personally, you’ll be feeling much better, and you’ll be a better caregiver because of it.
Give us a call today or fill out this online form. We’ll promptly contact you and schedule a free in-home assessment to let you know how we can help.