Are you a caregiver for someone with a chronic illness? This is a holy role. It strips us to our core. We encounter our patience or lack of patience, our forgiveness and inability to forgive. We face our family dynamics. Why am I the caregiver for this person who sometimes is so hard to love?
What stress are you experiencing? It’s important to monitor your own stress.
These questions are from the Caregiver Resource Network.
It’s important to monitor how you are doing.
Yes/ No — During this last week I have:
- Had trouble keeping my mind on what I was doing.
- Felt that I could not leave my relative/ care recipient alone.
- Had difficulty making decisions.
- Felt completely overwhelmed.
- Felt useless and unneeded.
- Felt lonely.
- Been upset that my relative/ care recipient has changed so much from his/her former self.
- Felt a loss of privacy and/ or private time.
- Been edgy or irritable.
- Had sleep disturbed because of caring for my relative/ care recipient.
- Had a crying spell(s).
- Felt strained between work and family responsibilities.
- Had back pain.
- Felt ill (headaches, stomach problems, or common cold).
- Been dissatisfied with the support my family has given me.
- Found my relative/care recipient’s living situation to be inconvenient or a barrier to care.
If you answered yes to 8 or more questions, chances are that you have a high level of distress. If fewer than 8 probably you have a low degree of stress.
What are some ways that you handle stress? Some possibilities:
- Deep breathing exercises. Google for more information how.
- Exercise: run, walk, keep moving best you can
- Explore the arts: music, drawing, needle craft, painting
- Connect with others via support groups, church, synagogue
- Books. Try Traveling Mercies by Ann Lamott
- Meditation and reading spiritual resources