When you’re a caregiver, anxiety may seem inevitable. You may experience muscle tension, headaches, irritability, and fatigue.
Although all caregivers may experience some symptoms of stress, women especially are at risk of anxiety from caregiving.
How do you begin to reduce your anxiety?
Chronic anxiety can create health issues such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular risks. Fortunately, some lifestyle changes can reduce your anxiety risk without medication or another doctor’s visit.
5 Ways to Better Cope with Caregiver Anxiety
1. Form healthy sleep habits.
Insomnia is a common symptom of anxiety, but you can improve your sleep at night with the right bedtime habits.
Keep a consistent bedtime.
Avoid heavy meals and alcohol a few hours before bedtime.
The light from computer screens can disrupt sleep, so avoid tablets, smartphones, and other devices shortly before bed.
Keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
2. Limit your caffeine intake.
If you’re attempting to tackle a to-do list with too little sleep, caffeine may seem like a lifesaver. Unfortunately, that extra cup of coffee can actually make anxiety worse. Caffeine can raise both your heart rate and blood pressure, which are also stress symptoms.
Instead, gradually cut back on your caffeine intake. Try green teas in the morning. Herbal teas, such as peppermint and chamomile, can soothe both your mind and body and help you relax at night before bedtime.
3. Schedule time for mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness can help ground your thoughts when your anxiety feels overwhelming. Set aside some time every day to sit and focus on a single point in the room or one physical sensation.
Deep-breathing exercises can also help with anxiety. They help to slow a racing heart and calm the fight-or-flight instinct. Try out some mindfulness apps to help guide you through an exercise.
4. Get regular physical exercise.
With the stress of caregiving, you may not feel like exercising. That is definitely understandable, but the truth is that exercise can help reduce stress and boost your mood. It can also increase your energy levels.
You might start by taking walks or bicycling around your neighborhood, doing fitness videos indoors, or taking a yoga class. Be sure to discuss any exercise regimen with your physician.
5. Avoid social isolation.
You might be tempted to avoid socializing when you feel anxious, or maybe you think you don’t have the time. In fact, anxiety and stress are great reasons to reach out for social support.
Whether you grab lunch with a friend or share your feelings on a caregiving forum, social interactions can help reduce stress and get your mind off the things that cause anxiety.
There is help for caregiver anxiety.
Anxiety may be common, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself, too. Talk to your doctor if anxiety is interfering with your daily life.
If you find that caregiving has become too much to manage, contact Randall Residence at any time. We’re here to help you and your senior loved one live the best life possible.