Not all stress is bad, but too much can be a problem. When you can learn more about your own responses to stress and where you are on your own scale, you can deal with stress much more effectively as a caregiver and as a person.
Boiling Water Isn’t Always Obvious
Analogies about frogs and boiling water can seem over-simplified, but they paint a picture. If the frog jumps into a pot of boiling water, he’s going to notice it immediately. But if he’s in a pot of room temperature water that slowly starts to boil, he won’t notice until it’s too late. It’s the same with stress. You don’t always notice when the situation is starting to come to a boil and sometimes it might boil over before you do notice.
Demands Increase Over Time
As a caregiver, the demands on your time and attention slowly grow like that pot of boiling water. You may not start out with needing to provide care day and night, but that can happen. One way to deal with this no matter where you are on your personal stress scale is to learn to delegate some of the tasks that you handle regularly. This is especially important if it’s not crucial for you to handle those tasks personally.
What Causes You Stress?
Do you already know what causes you stress? Some people get anxious and stressed when they’re running late. Other people find that heavy responsibilities cause them stress. Change, trauma, and even good things can all cause stress. The more you can pinpoint about the situations in your life that cause you to stress, the better informed you are about how to control your stress.
Stop and Check in with Yourself
If you’re really trying to avoid being like that frog, you need to stop and check the temperature now and again. Ask yourself what’s going on in your life and how you’re feeling about it. There’s no shame in feeling stressed and once you know how you’re doing, you can take steps to manage those feelings.
When you’re busy, it’s easy to say that you just don’t have time for these sorts of things. After all, everyone and everything in your life wants something from you. You have to make time to keep track of your stress because that’s part of taking care of yourself even as you take care of others.