Monday, July 14, 2014

Stressed Out?

If you’re new to parenting your GramChild then you probably know what Caregiver Stress is.  I had never heard of it until recently, and the information I have found is quite interesting. 
Caregiver Stress is slightly different than the normal parenting stress  

I sometimes feel like I'm on an emotional rollercoaster.  Caregivers can feel resentful, for being put into their role.  They may have had this role thrust upon them, through no fault of their own, either through a death in the family, or other circumstances.  There have been many times when I have resented the fact that I could not enjoy Sophia as her "Grammy", but that I was instead her caregiver and sometimes disciplinarian.  I have wanted to have the typical Grammy-GramKid relationship with her. 

If you work outside the home, you may struggle with guilt for having to put your little one in daycare, especially if their previous home environment was not a nurturing one.  You may worry about losing your job for taking extra time off for appointments for your grandchild.  Women, especially, struggle with competing demands for their time and emotions.
The additional costs in raising a child is often an issue for GramParents.  Doctor visits, daycare, or school tuition, clothes and food can all add up.  Sometimes the GramParent will have no choice but to dip into their retirement accounts or take out loans and put themselves in debt in order to care for their grandchild. 

There is no doubt about it, being a caregiver can be very stressful!

We know caregiving can be rewarding.  However, it is also physically and emotionally demanding.  If you are like me, you’re on duty 24 hours per day.  That leaves little time for enjoying other family, hobbies and even sleep. 
And what about our health?   Research has shown that women caregivers get colds and flu more easily, are more likely to have depression or anxiety, and are at higher risk for heart disease. Crazy, right?  But true.  All this stress talk, is stressing me out!!

Obviously, you will want to be in good shape, in order to care for your little darlings, so here is a suggestion that has helped me tremendously. 
Find time.  Ask a friend, neighbor or relative, or hire someone to care for your GramKid so that you can:
·         Spend time doing the things you enjoy.  Whether it’s spending time with family, knitting, reading, and gardening, whatever it is.  It will help you to get out of your own mind and concentrate on things that are fun.  Who can be sad, when you’re having fun?
·         Get physically active.  If you have a sedentary job or don’t get out much, it’s time to start.  Becoming more active and exercising will make you feel great and provide you with the energy you need to do what you do.  I know it seems crazy that exercise, which takes so much energy, will end up giving you energy, but it’s true!
·         Go to church!  I’m speaking for myself when I tell you, but spending time with others of my faith gives me strength and encouragement.  There’s no doubt!
·         Cut out the fast food.  Nothing will diminish your health more quickly than eating fast or convenient food.  It drains your energy, and can overall make you very sick.  You are caring for someone special.  You have to feel well, and so do they.
·         Did I mention to take time for you?  I’m thinking bubble baths, power naps, listen to music, or just lighting a candle can be very calming.

No matter what it is that you choose, try to make that "time" happen, as often as you can in order to maintain your sanity.  I'm joking, but I'm also serious.