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IT IS POSSIBLE  TO OVERCOME  BEING TIRED

Relief from Fatigue – Caregivers relate that most days care giving takes its toll. Frustrations develop when the one receiving care is ungrateful, as the story above relates. Still the next day comes and it’s back to duty, back to the same functions that made the caregivers fatigued yesterday and the day before and the day before that. Many caregivers would welcome a simple solution to their incessant fatigue.  In an effort to help you and others like you, we have come upon a simplified solution. In fact, it is so simple you may even be inclined not to adopt it. That  recommendation suggests that the best forms of relief from such stressful fatigue are very simply:

1.         Rest – Both periodic rest during the day (Even 30 minutes), and sound sleep at night. 

2.         Exercise – Not strenuous but consistent (15 minutes could be enough).

3.         Mental – Let your mind rest even if your body can’t. (It takes practice, but try it - often)

 

Do Caregivers Have Reasons To Be Fatigued?  Is it logical? Is it reasonable? Is it likely that you work hard enough to experience the fatigue and stress other caregivers describe? While the answers to these questions are likely yes, still your fatigue may be oppressive and your once positive attitudes are being attacked. The care and effort currently expended to help you may be sincere but insufficient. Your fatigue must be dealt with, and likely will require help from others.

 

Below is a story from Kim.  She explains how that fatigue can starve commitment:

“I take my vows seriously and have done everything possible to care for my second husband to make him as comfortable as possible. He is not the man I married and the depression and complications from his stroke make any loving relationship impossible. I feel so abandoned yet I must continue living this way until the end of either his life or mine. Doctors and health professionals have told me that my care of him at home has kept him alive much longer than they ever expected he would live. Every day he says he doesn’t care if I take care of him or if he takes his medication or if he eats properly. I am swimming upstream every moment and I am exhausted. I retired in 2009 and have been there for him constantly but with all the resistance he gives me regarding his care I can’t help but think why am I doing this? I do have some help with his personal care for a few hours each week but the hours that we spend alone together are very stressful. I am sorry his life has turned out this way but I just don’t know how much longer I can maintain my sanity and the ability to continue to care for him.” (1a)

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Relief from Fatigue – Caregivers relate that most days care giving takes its toll. Frustrations develop when the one receiving care is ungrateful, as the story above relates. Still the next day comes and it’s back to duty, back to the same functions that made the caregivers fatigued yesterday and the day before and the day before that. Many caregivers would welcome a simple solution to their incessant fatigue.  In an effort to help you and others like you, we have come upon a simplified solution. In fact, it is so simple you may even be inclined not to adopt it. That  recommendation suggests that the best forms of relief from such stressful fatigue are very simply:

1.         Rest – Both periodic rest during the day (Even 30 minutes), and sound sleep at night. 

2.         Exercise – Not strenuous but consistent (15 minutes could be enough).

3.         Mental – Let your mind rest even if your body can’t. (It takes practice, but try it - often)

Solutions and Suggestions – There should be no question, fatigue causes frustration and fatigue. It simply is reality. It is necessary that we learn to work through difficulties, and fatigue is certainly a common one. You can enjoy the satisfaction of your service without losing your relationship with the patient, whose influence on your attitude could be negative. However, to better adjust to your responsibilities, and eliminate fatigue as a stressful influence, you might consider the following:.

1. Identify those things that most affect your fatigue, and make a plan to take action.

2. Once those steps are determined, discuss with your loved to be fully correlated.

3. Determine that you will continue those steps until you find relief from fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue - There is a new ailing. When compassion fatigue strikes you and your loved one both suffer. You feel like your life has become a stress mess. Having a few of the symptoms doesn’t mean you have compassion fatigue. Until I found the cause of my symptoms, I thought I had compassion fatigue. I wasn’t functioning well, was extremely stressed, worked harder and accomplished less, was a general grouch, and had two arthritic hips. After my husband and I adjusted our daily routine and I was able to get seven hours of sleep a night, my compassion fatigue symptoms disappeared. It turned out I was suffering from sleep deprivation.

What can you do about this form of stress?

 

Assess your self-care. If you haven’t seen a doctor in years, now is the time to get a physical exam. Ask your doctor to update your prescriptions because some may be out of date.

 

Stay physically active. Put regular physical activity on your daily calendar. Walking is the easiest and cheapest form of physical activity. A fifteen-minute walk, short as it is, can boost your spirits.

 

Try deep breathing. Also called diaphragm breathing, this technique can help to reduce stress. The technique is difficult at first, but the more you practice it, the easier it becomes.

 

Check your support system. Fill in any gaps that you find. Put a list of emergency phone numbers on your cell phone or by your landline phone.

 

Join a caregiving support group. This could be a hospital group, church group, or online community. Attend several meetings before you make a membership decision.

 

Include some fun in each day. Take a break and read a magazine, or watch a television program, knit for a while, or call a friend. Sitting quietly may also be fun.

 

Care for your spiritual self. How you do this depends upon your religious and spiritual beliefs. Ask your church for help if you need it because these are the folks who show up, work hard, and give you hugs.

 

Follow these steps and you can get rid of compassion fatigue before it starts.

Final Thought - A very good friend of mine, a physician, told me once that he was starting to observe that as patients and their family caregivers attended an appointment together, the patient often was progressing and looking improved while the caregiver was looking worse. Further dialogue indicated that, the appearance matched reality, the caregiver was feeling worse, and progressively so. His mention was the first I had heard the term Compassion Fatigue. This new topic was discussed in the previous section. Take the advice given. Determine that you will not fall prey to this unfair but real situation. Act now, don't be a victim to that caregivers curse.