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Stress Management and Caregiver Support

Stress Management and Caregiver Support

Friday February 22, 2019

It was so great to see so many of you at our Next STEP Meeting last Friday. We had a great turn out where we split into two groups (patients and caregivers) to discuss “stress” and “stress management”. What we discovered is that our patients expressed “frustration withthe slow pace of their recovery,” but did not necessarily feel stressed. Perhaps this because our caregivers were carrying the weight of both their own personal stress and the stress of their loved ones!

Here are a few notes from the discussion on Stress Management

Strategies for Dealing with Stress for the Client/patient:

  1. Increasing Your Independence: Give yourself a “daily challenge”. This is a task where you will push yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone to increase your independence safely.

  2. Build a Routine. It is very important that you balance your daily life activities and your therapies. It is not beneficial to always be focused solely on therapy.

    Sit down and sketch out your day- to- day routine. Be sure to add in time for “brain rest”, exercise and nutritional intake.

    Know when it’s time to “push yourself” and when its time to “give yourself a break”. You should focus on doing your exercises when you are alert and well-rested.

  3. Maintain Good Mental Health - Do not bottle up your emotions.

    It is important to talk about the stress you are feeling, but who should you talk to? There are many options here and your spouse is not the only one you can share your feelings with. It is very normal for individuals who have undergone a traumatic illness to see a professional counselor or psychologist. In fact, this can be crucial for your caregiver as well. If you have aphasia finding a psychologist/psychotherapist who has experience working with clients who have communication difficulties is very important.

    Remember that it is okay to ask for help, when you need it.

    Maintain a good sleep routine

    Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

    Work on ways to communicate your needs to others - especially when you are upset. This can help reduce everyone ‘s stress. (Your speech therapist is a good person to talk to about this).

Special Notes for Caregivers on Stress Management :

  1. Take Care of Yourself - It is vital for you to take care of your own physical health to be able to care for your loved one. This involves: Rest, Exercise, Nutrition, Respite, Practice Mindfulness

  2. Find ways to celebrate the mini-milestones of your loved ones recovery.

  3. Get involved in a local support group - caregiver support groups can be very helpful and therapeutic.

  4. Respite - It is okay to ask for help. Sometimes getting away (even for an overnight or an afternoon) can help you to recharge and feel refreshed