9 Tips to Help Caregivers Manage Anxiety

September 4, 2017

Senior woman meditating in lotus position at home

Caregiving is a demanding role for everyone, no matter how resilient they are. The responsibility over someone else’s health and making sure their needs are met can lead to high levels of anxiety. And anxiety can take a toll on your own well-being, including both your physical and mental health.

Caregiver stress affects both the caregiver and the senior who’s receiving the care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 percent of family caregivers report having difficulty managing stress. That, of course, can affect your behavior in ways that become noticeable to your senior loved one as well as those around you.

If you want to be successful in your caregiving role over the long term, you will need to find ways to manage and reduce your daily anxiety levels.

Here are Nine Tips for Managing Anxiety

Keep in mind that every caregiver is unique and has a unique set of circumstances. So no two solutions are alike when it comes to managing caregiver anxiety. We encourage you to browse this list and see what might work for you.

  1. Talk with Friends and Family

The CDC, a wealth of data on caregiver stress, also reports that 61 percent of caregivers manage their anxiety by talking it out with friends or family. They also seek advice on how to manage their stress or how to make important decisions that concern their senior loved one.

  1. Manage Your Work-Life Balance

Use kind self-talk to remind yourself that balance is the key to being able to care for your senior loved one over the long haul. Instead of striving for perfection in every area of your life, set more reasonable expectations.

In everything that you do, every decision that you make, keep this important balance at the forefront of your mind. Let its significance weigh in your thought processes, always protecting the notion that you need time for your own life.

  1. Nurture the Spirit

Almost three-quarters of family caregivers surveyed by the CDC report that praying helps them cope with the stress of their caregiver role. This assumes that you’re religious. But if you’re not, there are other alternatives to consider including meditation.

For some people, meditation helps them approach the spiritual levels of well-being offered by prayer for religious people. Some people do both! Meditation has a calming effect, but it also helps focus your brain so you can better face the anxiety-causing stressors in your life.

  1. Get Organized

A major cause of anxiety is a lack of organization. Being disorganized can leave you with the constant, nagging feeling that you’re going to be late, miss an appointment, forget a medication, or somehow fail yourself and your senior loved one in your caregiving role.

Get a phone app (or two) to help you manage your time. Learning to keep track of doctor’s appointments, medications, shopping needs, and more on your phone may help you a great deal.

Prefer the old-fashioned way? Get a purse-sized calendar and notebook and use them every day!

  1. Get More Exercise

Working out—even if it’s just a daily brisk walk—can help with anxiety. Your body releases all sorts of feel-good chemicals when you exercise, and you get to let off lots of steam.

  1. Learn From Others

There are several ways that listening to other caregivers can help you. First, people usually find it comforting to know that other people experience what they’re going through. Secondly, you may learn tips from other caregivers about providing care and/or managing stress. Joining an online caregiver support group is an easy way to connect with peers.

  1. Eat Better

Start eating healthier foods and you’ll feel a whole lot stronger when it comes to facing anxiety head-on.

When you’re busy, as most caregivers tend to be, you don’t have a lot of time for healthy food prep. Consider taking advantage of healthy, home-delivered meal programs, such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron, to make eating nutritious meals a little easier.

  1. Concentrate on Positive Relationships in Your Life

Caregivers just don’t have time for negativity in their lives. Focus on spending time with people who love and support you. Those friends and loved ones who listen to you and make you happy can help you maintain a positive outlook.

  1. Ask for Help

Finally, there’s no shame in asking for help. Friends, relatives, and professional home care aides can supplement the work you’re doing in numerous ways. Start thinking about what tasks you need help with and how you can enlist outside support.

Legacy Helps Seniors and their Families

Legacy Senior Living can help, too. We offer short-term stay options and respite care for seniors whose caregivers need a break. Caregivers often use respite care services when they travel, trusting their senior loved ones to the Legacy community near them until they return. Call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you to learn more!