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10 Ways to Deal With Caregiver Stress

When taking care of others, it's critical that you don't neglect your own mental and physical health

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5. Take a break. You deserve it. Plus, your ailing family member might benefit from someone else's company. Think about respite careby friends, relatives or volunteers. Or try for a weekend or longervacation by turning to a home health agency, nursing home, assistedliving residence or board-and-care home; these facilities sometimes accept short-term residents. Adult day centers, which usually operate five days a week, provide care in a group setting for older people who need supervision.

6. Deal with your feelings.Bottling up your emotions takes a toll on your psyche — and even onyour physical well-being. Share feelings of frustration with friendsand family.  Seek support from co-workers who are in a similarsituation. Make an appointment with a professional counselor, or join acaregiver support group.

7. Find time to relax. Doing something you enjoy, such as reading, walking or listening to music, can recharge your batteries. Some caregivers meditateor use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualizing apositive place. If you're religious, you might find that prayer can bea powerful tool.

8. Get organized. Simple tools like calendars and to-do lists can help you prioritize your responsibilities. Always tackle the most important tasks first, and don't worry if you can't manage everything.

9. Just say no.Accept the fact that you simply can't do everything! Resist the urge totake on more activities, projects or financial obligations than you canhandle. If someone asks you to do something that will stretch you toothin, explain honestly why you can’t — and don't feel guilty.

10. Stay positive. Do your best to avoid negativity. Hold a family meeting or call an elder care mediatorto resolve conflicts with siblings and other relatives. Instead ofdwelling on what you can't do, pat yourself on the back for how muchyou are doing, and focus on the rewards of caring for someone you love.

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