Caregivers often feel stressed by caring for the large and small needs of patients with chronic diseases. The same goes for taking care of diabetes. So are there ways to help alleviate the impact of caring for diabetics on their mental health? Let’s take a closer look.
What causes caregiver stress?
Although there are currently few studies on the mental health impact of caring for patients with diabetes, there are many research reports focusing on caregiver stress. According to research, caregiver stress results from the intense physical and emotional demands of caring for someone with a chronic disease, such as diabetes.
Taking care of patients with diabetes involves more than regularly monitoring and recording the patient’s blood sugar and ensuring that the patient takes their medication on time. Additionally, you’ll want to watch for signs of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
If the care recipient is an elderly diabetic patient, the caregiving pressure may be even greater. Because caregivers are also responsible for grooming, dressing, bathing and feeding them. Therefore, caregivers of diabetic patients, for the sake of your mental health, please keep the following strategies in mind:
One of the effects of diabetes on caregivers’ mental health is that they feel less confident. This is because diabetes is a very complex disease that requires a deep understanding of concepts such as blood sugar, insulin treatment, and hypoglycemia.
Therefore, self-education is extremely important to reduce the mental health impact of caring for a patient with diabetes, for several reasons:
- It can give you the confidence you need to care for and cope with your condition.
- Learn when to be hands-off, especially when the patient is still able to care for themselves.
- Find products that help patients more effectively.
2.Set healthy goals
While taking care of patients with diabetes, caregivers should also pay attention to their own health. Set goals to help you stay healthy by ensuring you get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and drink enough fluids.
For example, make it your goal to go to bed at the same time every night. You can also use a graduated water bottle to track your water intake. Small, everyday things like this may not seem like a big deal, but if you do them regularly, these habits can make you healthier and less vulnerable to the effects of stress.
3. Recognize the bottom line and do what you can
Caregivers often feel guilty for not being able to do everything for the person with diabetes. However, here’s the reality of caregiving: you really can’t do it all!
Therefore, caregivers must be able to:
- Break big goals into several small tasks
- Prioritize things
- Get the most important things done first
- Accept that you can’t do everything, but at least you can accomplish the most important things
4.Seek foreign aid
If you have a family member with diabetes, in addition to providing personal care, you should also seek help from other family members to share the workload and reduce the excessive physical and mental pressure faced by a single caregiver.
Examples of where you can seek help are:
- Make a medical appointment
- Daily necessities shopping
- pay bill
- meal preparation
5.Find time to rest
Getting adequate rest can help you reduce the psychological impact of caring for someone with diabetes. Experts say that even just 30 minutes of “breathing” time can be very beneficial to the caregiver’s mental health.
Here are some tips on how to take a good breather:
- Remember that rest is not a luxury, but a necessity. Only when you are “recharged” can you take good care of patients.
- Give yourself 1 to 2 hours of “quiet time” every day.
- If you are really busy, try to take a few 30-minute breaks to rest.
- Ask relatives and friends of people with diabetes to spend more time with them. While they are enjoying each other’s company, you can do something to relax yourself.
6.Watch for signs of burnout
Pushing on when you’re already exhausted can be harmful to your mental health and even increase your risk of making mistakes when caring for someone with diabetes.
If you have the following signs of exhaustion, remember to take it easy, take a break and ask for help from others. Don’t take care of others at the expense of your own health:
- Not happy about small things
- Can’t find fun in life
- Frequently feeling angry or helpless
- feeling extremely tired
- difficulty concentrating
- Chronic illness attacks but makes you sicker than usual
- eating too little or too much
- Having trouble sleeping
- alienated from relatives and friends
- I feel like I have to run away from it all
7.Self-care is a priority
In addition to getting a good rest and seeking outside support, making self-care a priority can also reduce the mental health impact of caring for someone with diabetes. you can:
- Think about the people, things, and things you are grateful for.
- Pick up a new hobby, or pick up an old favorite.
- Take care of your other relationships. Spend time with your family, friends, relatives.
- Accept your negative emotions. Feeling angry and frustrated is normal and does not mean you are not caring for your patient.
- Find healthy ways to deal with negative emotions, such as doing yoga, meditation, and abdominal breathing exercises.
- Join a caregiver support group, even an online one.
Final reminder: When stress becomes too much, seek medical advice immediately to discuss your thoughts and feelings.