Caregiver Depression: Signs and Causes | 7 Tips to Deal With It
When I enrolled for my Ph.D. I was amazed at listening to different ideas that I and my batchmates were really looking forward to exploring. One such idea, coming from my friend, grabbed my attention as it made me consider the second side of any illness is it physical or mental! The theme that she is exploring through her thesis is Caregiver Depression!
When we talk of mental health or physical mental that an individual is fighting off, we project our empathy and concerns towards them. Completely dismissing the role, struggle, and strength of their superheroes, their caregivers! Especially the current pandemic has taken a toll on their physical health, mental health, and overall wellness.
So, why not spare a few minutes to learn about caregiver depression, become aware of its symptoms, and be prepared to help yourself and others from the same.
What is Caregiving Depression?
Caregiver Depression is currently being referred to as a Silent Health Crisis, as only a few people know about it, fewer people talk about it, and merely 1% seek help for the same. Caregiver depression is marked by feelings of loneliness, sadness, and guilt that result from providing care to others to an extent where an individual ends up neglecting his well-being.
Why Does Caregiving Result In Depression?
The reason why caregiver depression develops is the emotional, physical, and mental strain that comes along with this responsibility. Caregiving someone definitely cuts shorts the time that you as a caregiver have for yourself, your loved ones, and your favorite activities.
Experiencing less time for self can also work as a trigger here. Along with this, spending time with someone who is having the flu or other such contagious health condition puts an individual at risk of developing the illness. This feeling of fear and thoughts of apprehension can also result in caregiver depression and anxiety.
What are the Signs of Caregiver Depression:
It is important to note that not every caregiver goes through caregiver depression. To identify whether a caregiver is struggling with depression or not here is a list of caregiver depression to refer to:
- Feeling hopeless, lonely, or empty.
- Little interest in activities you once enjoyed.
- Trouble concentrating and making decisions.
- Sudden change in appetite and sleeping pattern.
- Feeling tired most of the day.
- Frequency stomachs, headaches, and muscle pain.
- Becoming easily agitated or frustrated.
If three or more of these signs have been occurring most of the day, nearly every day, then seeking help from a mental health professional is suggested.
How To Deal With Caregiver Depression?
Now that we have understood what is caregiver depression and what are the symptoms associated with it, let us find the answer to the biggest question: How Do I Take Care of Myself As A Caregiver?
1. Have a Scheduled “Me-Time”
As discussed above the time for oneself goes missing while taking care of someone in need. This is the big reason behind caregiver depression. That is why it is important to have time for self while working as a caregiver.
It will help manage the symptoms of caregiver depression and make sure that you are giving yourself the much-needed love and care. You can pick any of your favorite activities and spare 10-15 minutes, where it is just you, your thoughts, your emotions, and you!
2. Take Care of Your Health
Make sure that you are taking good care of your physical and mental health, while caregiving that of others. Keep yourself physically and mentally active (exercises and journaling).
Along with this, do visit your physician regularly and keep a check on your health too. After all, you are the source of their energy and happiness!
3. Spare Time For Other Relationships
Your relationships with others are a major source of joy and happiness in your busy life. We understand that you might not be able to give as much time to them as you used to, but even those 5 minutes of conversation with your BFF will work as the best antidepressant for you.
To make it even better, is advised that you talk about things other than caregiving life. It will help you rejoice in other important elements and people in your life.
4. Try Mind-Body Techniques
I am a strong believer in the fact that our mind and body are closely knitted together. For example, when our body feels exerted, our ability to think clearly fades away. To bring relief to caregiver depression, it is advised that you make embodiment techniques a part of your lifestyle.
5. Accept and Seek For Help
You might want to take all the responsibility of an individual to be their caregiver. In this process, you might just forget that it is okay to take extra help from those around you.
Trust me it won’t make you look selfish. Many people around you might be looking forward to lending a helping hand. Just go out and ask for help.
6. Join a Support Group or Community
There are numerous communities and support groups that can make your family members and you a safe place to share your feelings and emotions.
Plus, these platforms also provide moral support, help you learn effective coping strategies, and learn practical information. Connecting with these caregiver support groups and community will definitely help you in gaining emotional relief.
7. Create your Own DIY Mental Health Kit
Not all techniques work for all. The stressor or source of depression for one person can differ from others. That is why it is advised that you create your own DIY mental health kit.
Every time you feel overwhelmed, just go to your kit, pick an activity up, and relax completely. You can add aromatherapy, your favorite green tea, or any other soothing activity, and create your go-to Mental Health DIY kit.
However, if you are wondering “How Can I Help Someone Who Is Caregiving?” This special section is for you. The three best ways to cheer up someone with caregiver depression are
- Spend time with them.
- Be there support system.
- Lend them a helping hand.
They might not ask for it but they definitely need you! So be there and take care!
If you need emotional support, you can always connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org We are here to help you!
You are doing great as a caregiver just make sure that you give importance to your wellness as much as you are concerned with others. We hope that this write-up will help you deal with caregiver depression and help you balance your life as a caregiver and your personal life.
More Power To You!