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Managing Stress for Caregivers During COVID-19


It’s been more than a year since the COVID-19 global pandemic and many are still settling into this new normal (not so normal) wave of uncertainty. For caregivers of family members with developmental disabilities managing stress can be challenge. Taking care of someone can come with rewards, but also be emotionally, physically and mentally draining, even more so during this pandemic. Below are some ideas to help manage: 1. Ask for help: It’s not possible to do everything, so allow yourself the grace to accept help or seek out help. This can reduce burn out. Whether it’s having someone cook a meal or run an errand take a look at your duties and see which ones you can hand over to those in your household or ditch all together for the time being! 2. Set realistic goals and manage expectations: Set small steps and prioritize what can be accomplished for the day. This can fill us with a greater sense of accomplishment when there’s so much to do. 3. Allow yourself to rediscover enjoyment in something new: Having an outlet not only provides a break from the day to day, but it provides something uniquely yours and something to look forward to. Learn something new. Learning never stops. 4. Connect with others in support groups and the community: Connecting with other people can be a good way to share resources, relate to others in similar situations and have an understanding ear or new perspective. Many social platforms, when used carefully, can provide a plethora of information. Use what works for you. Possibly a virtual game night? Support group? 5. Try and get ahead of the stress: Stress is a part of our daily lives. In fact, some stress can be healthy. However, sometimes stress can become extreme. Become aware of the signals your body sends. Stress can reveal itself through tension in the shoulders, head ache, brain fog, fatigue, poor sleep or lack of appetite. Take a moment to be present and breathe, go for a walk, or listen to music. 6. Meditate, Meditate, And Meditate: Meditation is a form of self-care that can help with focus, creativity and calmness. Take a few minutes of your day to breathe and be in the present moment. Meditation is not meant to dismiss all your worries, but be mindful and non-judgmental of your thoughts as they arise. 7. Be aware of any financial benefits you may qualify for in your community: Check out your states website to see what benefits you may qualify for. You can diversify your income, budget, reduce expenses. https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd/services/ 8. Manage your health Rest, drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods. A good night’s sleep can go a long way in reducing chronic health conditions, help with memory, and manage mood. Keep up with your own wellness checks with your doctor. It is important to take care of yourself before taking care of others. Having a little ice cream doesn’t hurt either. And while sometimes we may not have the time or energy to exercise, 30 minutes a few times out the week can make a difference. Create a combination of what works for YOU. 9. Know where to get treatment if you become sick with covid-19. Many clinics are now offering free testing, check out your county here: https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/testing-and-treatment/where-can-i-find-a-list-of-public-testing-locations-how-can-i-access-free-covid-19-testing-or-treatment 10. Take breaks from the news and social media It’s good to stay informed and educate ourselves of current events but our minds need time to process the news as well. Take a break from the news which usually broadcasts negative stories. Check for reliable sources. 11. Keep it Light Find the gratitude, humor or “lightness”. Being a caregiver can be an overwhelming responsibility. Take time out the day to express gratitude or enjoy the silliness that can also be a part of caring for someone. 12. Plan ahead or find routine. Planning ahead can open up opportunity for different ways to use your time and energy. Meal planning for example, can save time during the week which can then be used as free time for yourself. There is no one size fits all. A combination of this can mediate. Recognize what you can manage and what things are worth letting go. During this time of uncertainty find hope. Below are some links for further information about managing stress: · https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/stress-coping/care-for-yourself.html · National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Toll-free number 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) The Online Lifeline Crisis Chat is free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area. · National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224 National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453





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