Caregivers have been found to experience a greater number of mental and physical health issues compared to non-caregivers. This is especially true for working caregivers that experience high levels of stress. Here are a few tips for working caregivers:
Recognize the signs of stress: Have you experienced sudden mood swings at work? Have you been forgetting tasks that are normally second nature to you? These could be related to being under intense stress. Identify the problems you have control over and what problems you can't control. Consider creating a plan to conquer the problems you can control and trying to forget the rest.
Be proactive: If you've been feeling overwhelmed at work, consider contacting the Human Resources department or Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at your work to see what benefits might be available to you. Counseling is also highly recommended for caregivers experiencing these feelings.
Give yourself breaks: Find a way to blow off some steam. It has been shown that just taking an hour or even a few moments to take a walk or meditate to decompress could improve your mood and productivity.
Prioritize communication: Effective communication can help you get what you need to stay healthy. If you need assistance, don't be afraid to ask for it. It's important to communicate your challenges and needs to your employer, co-workers, and loved ones.
Practice healthy habits: Eating a nutritious diet, walking often, and getting seven to eight hours of sleep is the most straightforward way to improve your overall health and prevent illness. Consider ways you could incorporate these potentially life-saving habits into your routine.
Socialize and seek help: It is important to check if your company offers counseling, resource and referral services, support groups and other help for family caregivers. If the right services are not available, try to connect with a group in your community (contact your local Area Agency on Aging) or in your faith community. Even meeting a friend once a week could improve your well-being and help you feel like you're not alone.