Caregivers who attend to the needs of people with a chronic condition frequently experience stress and pressure. Is it possible to reduce the negative mental health impact of caring for a diabetes patient? Find out here.
What is stressful about being a caregiver?
Although we have few studies on the mental health impact of caring for a diabetes patient, many reports focus on caregiver stress.
According to research, caregiver stress happens due to the intense physical and emotional demands of caring for someone with a chronic condition like diabetes.
Come to think of it; attending to a diabetic patient’s needs means you need to monitor and record their blood glucose level regularly and make sure that they are taking their medications on time. Furthermore, you may also need to be on guard for the signs of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.
The stress can be more serious if the patient is in their senior years, as the caregiver may also be in charge of their grooming, bathing, dressing, and feeding.
To reduce the negative mental health impact of caring for a diabetes patient, keep the following strategies in mind:
One impact of diabetes on the mental health of the caregiver is lack of confidence.
There are several reasons why educating yourself is crucial in reducing the mental health impact of caring for a diabetes patient:
- It gives you the confidence you need to help your patient manage their condition.
- You will learn that there are some things that you don’t need to do for your patient, especially if they are still able.
- You might find products that can help you care for the patient more conveniently.
Set health goals
While caring for a diabetic patient, remember that you also need to take care of your health. To help you stay healthy, set goals that promote adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and hydration.
For example, make it your goal to sleep around the same time each night. You can also use a calibrated water bottle to keep track of your hydration. Little things like these don’t seem much, but if you do them regularly, they can boost your health and make you less vulnerable to stress and its effects.
Recognize your limitations and focus on what you can do
Caregivers often feel guilty about not being able to do everything for their diabetic patients. But, according to experts, that’s the reality of caregiving: you really cannot do everything.
For this reason, it’s essential to:
- Break bigger goals into smaller tasks
- Arrange the tasks by their priority
- Accomplish the high-priority tasks first
- Accept that you may not be able to do everything on your to-do list, but you’ll be able to complete the most important ones.
Ask for help
Because caregivers cannot do everything for their diabetes patient alone, enlisting the help of others can ease your worries.
Asking for help might be easier if you’re caring for a loved one as you can share tasks between family members. If you work as a caregiver, approach the person who hired you and explain why it’s a good idea to let other people do specific tasks.
Examples of tasks that you can ask for help with are:
- Making medical appointments
- Grocery shopping
- Paying bills
- Meal preparation
Take a break from time to time
You can reduce the negative mental health impact of caring for a diabetes patient by taking breaks occasionally.
It may seem impossible, and you might feel guilty about it, but experts say that getting even a regular 30-minute respite can do wonders for a caregiver’s mental health.
Here are some tips for taking a break:
- Remember that breaks are not luxury, they are necessary. When you feel well-rested, you can take better care of your diabetic patient.
- Set aside an hour or two of “quiet time” for yourself daily.
- If things are hectic, take several 30-minute breaks when you can.
- Ask your patient’s friend or relatives to spend some time with them. While they are enjoying each other’s company, do something relaxing.
Keep a close watch on burnout symptoms
Pushing yourself further when you’re already experiencing burnout is not a good practice as it’s detrimental to your mental health.
Furthermore, it increases your risk of committing mistakes while taking care of your diabetic patient.
Remember to take a step back when you experience burnout symptoms like:
- Being upset over little things
- Finding no joy in your life
- Feeling angry or helpless frequently
- Feeling extremely tired
- Having trouble paying attention
- Being sicker than usual
- Eating too little or too much
- Having trouble sleeping
- Isolating yourself from friends and family
- Feeling like you need to escape
Besides taking a break and asking for help, one of the best practices to reduce the mental health impact of caring for a diabetes patient is to prioritize self-care. You can do this by:
- Reflecting on the things you are thankful for
- Taking up a new hobby or revisiting an old one you used to enjoy
- Taking care of your other relationships. Spend time with your family, friends, and loved ones
- Accepting your negative feelings. Feelings like anger and frustration are sometimes normal; it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad caregiver.
- Find healthy ways to cope with your negative emotions, like yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises.
- Join a caregiver support group, even if it’s an online one.
Finally, when the stress becomes too much, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor about your thoughts and feelings.
Learn more about Diabetes here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.