Your day starts at around 6:00am. You struggle to keep your 3 kids occupied while you conduct two Zoom meetings. Your mother, whose assisted living is on lockdown, is lonely and also needs to get to a medical appointment. You struggle to provide reassurance to your kids as they ask unending questions about the pandemic, how long it will last, and when they can be with friends. Your day ends at 1:30am. You wonder how you will get through tomorrow.
Sound familiar? The compassionate leadership team at Infinite Therapy Solutions knows exactly how you feel. After all, we are caregivers ourselves! We have the expertise to advise you on who needs support; in addition to developing personal self-help strategies. Keep reading to learn helpful strategies to reduce stress, relieve anxiety, and prevent caregiver burnout.
Let’s Take Care of the Caregiver
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is creating additional stress throughout the global population. Numerous experts agree that self-care is an absolute necessity in helping others. Lack of self-care can result in depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, headaches, and muscle pain. Our Virtual Parent Support Group is perfect for families, friends, and caregivers who need help managing their stress.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based mental health technique that has gained great respect in the healthcare profession. It’s widely used in mental health counseling. A core principle is that psychological problems are often rooted in unhelpful patterns of thinking and learning. Getting out of these patterns involves recognizing cognitive distortions and then problem-solving to create healthier ways of thinking. This is referred to as “untwisting.”
Parents, friends, relatives, and professional caregivers can all fall victim to various cognitive distortions, or detrimental ways of thinking. Some of these include:
- Mental Filters: Dwelling on negatives but ignoring positives
- Discounting the positives: Insisting that accomplishments “don’t count”
Think of the below strategies as “take care tips,” or habits that get you out of those negative thought patterns.
- Identify the Distortion: Write down negative thoughts. Identify which distortions are occurring and how you can look at them in a more positive way
- Double-Standard Method: Rather than putting yourself down, express the same compassion in which you would talk to a friend who needs support
Prevention of caregiver burnout and anxiety has been on the minds of health leaders for decades. Experts have several recommendations on how to reduce stress that take little time and money. Examples include meditation, exercise, and sharing feelings with a trusted friend. Even laughter provides a jolt of positivity and relief. So go ahead! Read that funny book or call a friend that makes you laugh.
- Good self-care is critical to taking care of others
- The COVID-19 pandemic is increasing caregiver burnout
- You can learn how to “untwist” negative thoughts
- Many stress reduction tools are inexpensive and take little time
Whether you are a parent, loved one, or a professional caregiver, it’s easy to forget that in order to effectively take care of others; you need to also take care of yourself. All of the tools we have described have been used in self-care for professional caregivers as well as parents, families, and friends. We know that self-care is particularly difficult and important for parents of children with special needs.
Infinite Therapy Solutions offers evidence-based interventions in speech, occupational, and physical therapy. Because we are caregivers ourselves, we know how hard it can be to care for your loved ones and also be compassionate towards your own self-care needs. We would be honored to work with you. Contact Us today!