Tips for a struggling caregiver

Tips for a struggling caregiver

It’s all too common for the average person to feel the mental and physical burden of stress in today’s world. When your loved one that you now provide care for is suffering, this stress amplifies and sometimes becomes deafening.

Many who care for someone living with liver disease become overwhelmed with constant worrying, suffer from fatigue or rapid weight gain/loss, become easily irritated or find themselves feeling physical ailments like an upset stomach or heart palpitations.

A black and white image of a woman looking worried, biting her nails and looking off into the distance.

All of these symptoms and more are often stress related. To manage life as a caregiver, following these tips can empower you with strength and hope.

Accept that this is hard on you too

Putting on a smile and hiding the difficulties you now experience in your day to day life has is a temporary solution. Feelings of anger, loneliness, sadness and uncertainty are normal emotions to have. It is essential to talk about your emotions rather than ‘bottling’ them, so that you may heal and prevent burn-out and other stress-related illnesses.

A man and woman hold hands while sitting on a couch, only their arms are visible. The man has a gold watch on. The woman has a tattoo on her forearm and appears to be wearing a wedding ring. One of these partners are presumably the caregiver for their loved one.

You don’t have to do it all by yourself

It’s easy to fall into a cycle of believing you can do it all. Don’t be afraid to ask for extra help from anyone in your support circles—family, friends, close co-workers or neighbours want to see you succeed and feel well. Those close to you will lend a hand running simple errands that can pile up when you spend much of your time caring for your loved one.

Schedule some ‘me’ time

Sidelining your needs and desires will only get you so far. Make time to do the things that bring you happiness and peace of mind. We suggest eating healthy meals, being physically active and practicing yoga or meditation for added physical and mental health benefits. But also, try to squeeze in time to read, watch a movie, go for walks to clear your mind, visit a friend, or take up journaling.

A young woman sits with her back to her camera while reading a book on a tablet or e-reader device.

Talk to your doctor

Make sure you let your doctor know that you are providing care for a loved one. Your healthcare provider can suggest ways you can manage feeling burnt out and will also open a line of communication about any symptoms or health issues you are experiencing.

Join a support group

Sharing your experiences as a caregiver and asking for the advice of your peers can be beneficial to you. It is important not to isolate yourself, and speaking with those who have gone through similar circumstances in a support group can do just the trick. Check in with the CLF’s support services to see what is available to you in your region. You will not only find reassurance or encouragement, but you’ll most likely receive first-hand guidance that can help you through difficult situations.

Caring for a loved one isn’t a journey you should embark upon on your own. Check out additional tips on our website. If you need help getting answers, finding resources or are interested in connecting to a peer with similar experiences, please contact us at 1 (800) 563-5483 Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM EST or anytime at clf@liver.ca.

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