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Stress Relief for Caregivers

Staying Emotionally Healthy

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Updated March 14, 2008

There is a popular saying among mental health professionals: You can’t help anyone else become any healthier than you are. Yet too often, those who are supporting others through their phobias forget to look out for their own emotional health. If you are feeling pressured, burned out and resentful, then you will no longer be a successful support person. Here are a few tips on managing your own stress and frustration.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

Providing emotional support to someone who is battling a phobia can be hard, lonely work. Feelings of anger, resentment, sadness and helplessness are all normal and do not mean that you care any less for the person. Acknowledge your feelings and work through them rather than suppressing them.

Stop Rescuing

Some people are born with what experts call a “rescuer” instinct. People with this instinct feel responsible for others. You did not cause the phobia and you cannot fix it. All you can and should do is be there for your loved one.

Take Time Away

No matter how much you love someone, you need time away from that person. Remember that you are a complex person with an identity outside of “caregiver.” Spend time with the people and activities that you enjoy.

Stay Healthy

If you are tired or run-down, then your stress tolerance will be lower. Eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest. If you are ill, try to find someone else to temporarily take your place as support person.

Know Your Limits

Every person is different. Only you know what you are and are not able to do. If you have been pushing your limits, talk to your loved one. He or she may have other people who can help.

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