No matter how deeply you care for the person you are caring for, the fact is being a carer is stressful. Stress is damaging in the long term because it can lead to illness, depression and exhaustion. You may well feel you are coping with your caring role, however there may come a time when you experience higher than normal levels of stress.
To enable you to continue your caring role effectively and also to ensure your own health does not suffer it is important to be able to deal with stress in a practical and easily applied way.
Whether the person you provide care for has a mental or physical disability makes very little difference, it is the continual and constant having to care for them that can be so physically and emotionally draining.
Why does a carer become stressed?
The cause of your carer stress might be complex. You could be worried about the health of the person you love and care for, or the attitudes of other members of the family. You may well feel guilty about the way you feel sometimes.
Stress can potentially put a strain on relationship due to the continual stress experienced by the carer and possibly the perceived lack of support from the partner. Lack of support and feeling totally isolated in your role a carer can all play a part in making you feel worse. Carers have to maintain relationships with other people outside the home.
Common feelings to carers
The pressure of being a carer may lead to anger and a feeling of a loss of control. This can be very damaging. Sometimes it can be very hard to cope with these feelings as well as having to care for someone. You may well feel guilty for feelings of anger towards the person you are caring for.
As a carer you may not have the time to think about how you are coping and how you are feeling. Symptoms of stress include irritability and generally feeling more emotionally drained and perhaps tearful, lack of appetite or perhaps eating too much and putting on weight. Not being able to sleep or waking up early. General feelings of feeling anxiety. A suppressed immune system can mean, more virus infections than usual, lack of energy, short temper and raised blood pressure.
You might feel isolated, pessimistic and almost overwhelmed as a carer. All these raw emotions create stress. When your body is stressed you have more stress hormone called cortisol in your body. If levels of cortisol are too high for too long then blood pressure goes up, digestion is suppressed causing stomach problems and sleep is driven out. Stress is not only harmful to your health and well-being, it can also damage your relationships, so it's vital to identify the causes of stress and be able to tackle them as soon as possible in a practical and cost effective manner.
Stress and the cure
If you are a carer for someone else then chances are you are neglecting your own needs to some extent. You have needs for:
To be able to relax
Quality sleep and rest
Feeling safe and secure
A sense of connection to your family and community
Be able to enjoy yourself
Achieving your own goals in life
Your caring role may prevent you getting some of your needs being met. Being able to relax is so important. When you relax your stress hormone levels level out, your blood pressure becomes normal and your immune system works better.
To enable you to feel relaxed and cope as a carer Wellerassociates working in partnership with Guideposts Trust have produced a range of MP3s and CDs.
50% of any income generated goes back to the Trust.
All you have to do is listen in the comfort of your own home at a time of your choosing.
Sam Weller has been a hypnotherapist since 1989,with extensive experience of stress management. As part of his working arrangement with Guideposts Trust Sam will be accessible to answer your questions and provide an on going counselling and support service when ever needed, and for as long as needed.
Relaxation and Confidence download
Whether you are local to our practice in Oxfordshire or come from anywhere else in the world, you can experience what a session feels like by simply going to the downloads section or straight to www.hypnotictracks.com to download relaxation and confidence session.
This is where I feel I have bottled it thanks to modern technology.