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A person who has a mental illness needs constant support from his family and friends. In extreme cases, there is a caregiver for a person who is suffering from a mental illness. In extreme cases the caregiver is with the patient all day long. Although they are doing one of the noblest deeds but sometimes it can be very stressful. A caregiver has to take care of their own health first. Taking care of a person with an mental illness can physically and mentally drain a person.
The mental and physical stress can take an extreme toll on a person's health if not monitored at the right time.
Signs of a caregiver stress are as follows:
- Getting frustrated easily:
A person doesn't realize but getting irritated or frustrated for every small thing is a sign of stress. If it is not treated at the right time, it can take lead to severe mental illnesses.
- Feeling tired all the time:
A caregiver's job is not easy but if a caregiver doesn't take care of their own health first then they can harm their own health too.
- Feeling sad:
feeling sad without any reason is also a sign of stress. A caregiver should be aware of their own mood swings too and take help at the right time.
- Gaining or losing weight:
To take care of a person with a mental illness demands to take care of the patient all day. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. The caregiver doesn't realize that it effects their mental health too. When a person is emotionally stresses, they either eat a lot or in some cases don't eat at all. Gaining and losing weight are also a sign of caregiver stress. Eating too much can lead to obesity which is a major cause of many serious health problems like heart diseases and diabetes.
- Not being able to get enough sleep:
The caregiver needs to be properly rested in order to take care of a person with a mental illness. If the caregiver doesn't get enough sleep at night for days together is also a sign of caregiver stress.
Steps to deal with caregiver stress:
- Ask for help:
Although a caregiver takes a responsibility of taking care of a person with mental illness but they should be open to accept help wherever needed. For example, a caregiver can ask a friend to get groceries, or run an errand. This gives the caregiver some time off and they can concentrate on other things.
- Take care of their own health:
They should make a conscious effort to take care of their own diet, sleep , overall health and fitness.They should have a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.
- Take time for themselves:
Caregivers should take out at least one hour in a day for themselves. During this time, they should only concentrate on the things that they like to do. For example, read a book,listen to music, watch a show or talk ti a friend. Sometimes just sitting without doing anything can also relax a person.
- Make to do lists:
Being organized always helps. Making to do lists helps you complete tasks faster and one doesn't get overwhelmed with work.
- Get regular health check ups:
A caregiver should also get their regular health check ups done and should inform the doctor if there are any symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Remember, if you don't take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of anyone else!
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