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The demands of caregiving can be overwhelming, especially if you feel you have little control over the situation or you’re in over your head. If the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, it can take a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind—eventually leading to burnout.

When you’re burned out, it’s tough to do anything, let alone look after someone else. That’s why taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. Read on for tips on how to rein in the stress in your life and regain balance, joy, and hope.

What you can do

  1. Connect face to face with the person you are caring for
  2. Get out of the house and walk in the sunlight
  3. Reach out and stay connected to people who support you
  4. Learn about the mood-boosting benefits of omega-3 fats
  5. Join a caregiver support group to share your experiences
  6. Get the amount of restful sleep that you need to feel your best

What do you need to know?

Caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, but it also involves many stressors. Caregiver stress can be particularly damaging, since it is typically a chronic, long-term challenge. You may face years or even decades of caregiving responsibilities. It can be particularly disheartening when there’s no hope that your family member will get better.

If you don’t get the physical and emotional support your need, the stress of caregiving leaves you vulnerable to a wide range of problems, including depression, anxiety, and burnout. And when you get to that point, both you and the person you’re caring for suffer. That’s why managing the stress levels in your life is just as important as making sure your family member gets to his doctor’s appointment or takes her medication on time.

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Caregiver Stress and Burnout: Tips for Regaining Your Energy, Optimism, and Hope