6 Common Signs of Caregiver Stress – and How to Fight Back

May 15, 2017
Stephen Bleeker

The role of a caregiver is incredibly important. But it can also become challenging and stressful, which can lead to burnout.

The warning signs may be there, but with the responsibility for another resting on your shoulders, many caregivers choose to ignore the symptoms that can lead to health problems when not addressed. Here we explore six common signs of caregiver stress and how you can fight back before it impacts your life.

1.    Withdrawal

Have you noticed that you no longer enjoy the activities you used to love, or find yourself withdrawing from social events or family and friends? Stressful life situations can lead to depression and withdrawal, and begin to impact one’s relationships with others.

2.    Anger and Frustration

Perhaps you’ve been getting increasingly frustrated or angry with the person you’ve been caring for, or upset about the current situation and taking it out on others. This is a clear sign that you’re under too much stress and may need a break and some time for yourself.

3.    Grief and Sadness

Feelings of deep grief and sadness about your relationship with your family member can be a tell-tale sign that you’re experiencing pressure and anxiety over the situation.

4.    Losing Sleep

Many caregivers lose sleep at night, mainly from worrying about their decisions and if the care they’re giving is really helping. These feelings of being constantly exhausted or sleep deprived are signs of burnout.

5.    Feeling Alone

Feeling helpless, hopeless, and alone is often associated with caregiver stress. And it’s not uncommon for many caregivers to feel isolated, especially when spending hours a day with someone in their home and no one else to talk to regarding their feelings.

6.    Fighting Back!

You can fight back against caregiver stress by joining a support group with other family caregivers in your community. Sharing stories, advice, and support with others who understand your challenges can help you become more prepared, happy and relaxed. And don’t feel ashamed to take a break, there are many supportive health care services that will provide respite care services to give primary caregivers the break they need.

If you need it, ask for help and be open to others about how you’re feeling. Finding a close friend who understands or another caregiver to talk to can really help you walk through your feelings and help you feel better.

Being a caregiver can be very challenging at times. Knowing the signs that your health is being affected is important to maintain both physical and mental health that’s needed to care for another. If you’re experiencing these common signs of stress, and are struggling to regain a healthy balance, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional who can help guide you along the way.

–          Stephen Bleeker