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Caregiving Tips: Understanding Emotions Part 1


Caring can be emotionally draining, and there will be many times when it is hard to maintain a positive outlook. You might be confused by your feelings or even ashamed, but the worst thing you can do is to bottle them up. The first step to understanding your feelings is to identify them; it is only then that you can find ways of working them out.

IDENTIFYING STRESS

It is difficult to avoid becoming stressed; you may often feel that there are not enough hours in the day and that there is no end in sight to the jobs you have to tackle. You may become irritable and moody and feel constantly tired. You may find that on some days, even the simplest of tasks, such as washing up is too much to handle. If you can identify what is stressful, it might be possible to consider some practical ways of improving your situation.

ALLEVIATING TIREDNESS

There is nothing more likely to make you irritable than tiredness and exhaustion. You might want to try some of these suggestions:

Planning your day. Draw up a list of your typical daily tasks, and then prioritise them. Are they all absolutely necessary? Could you delegate some of them to your patient’s family?

Getting adequate rest. If your patient sleeps in the afternoon, would it be possible for you to have a sleep then, too? If you have trouble getting to sleep at night:

  • Keep a regular bedtime.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine before bed.
  • Don’t go to bed hungry.
  • Ensure regular exercise.
  • Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
RECOGNISING AND DEALING WITH STRESS

One way of dealing with stress is relaxation. This can mean a lot of different things. It is important to find out what is right for you. That is why you first need to understand what is causing your stress. You may then be able to pick one of the following suggestions as a possible and appropriate one to try:

  • Find ways to cut down work. Are you making the most help available to you? What must be done and what can be left undone without harming anyone?
  • Treat yourself to a bath, a TV program or an evening out. Most important, give yourself a break.
  • Try exercise – it eases both physical and mental stress. If you can’t get out, do some exercise at home. Gentle exercise, such as stretching, may be good for both you and your patient. If you can do it together, it may even be a source of laughter.
  • Make sure you get enough rest and sleep.
  • Get together with other people – to share feelings, give mutual support or relax together and have fun.
  • Practice a relaxation technique. Close your eyes and breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeat ten times. This is a way of switching off, even if just for a few moments.
 

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