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Stress: Caregiver's Breaking Point

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Last January 8-9, the Philippine Embassy in Israel conducted a seminar and forum on Stress Management. These kind of activities are important for migrant workers since more than anything, they need to know how to cope with stress.

Our work as a caregiver is fulfilling but overwhelming at the same time. If you don't know how to manage stress, it may take a toll on you which can affect your health, your relationship with other people and your well being as a whole. Stress also affects your emotions which may lead to bad decision-making and eventually affect your job. It will be much harder if you are dealing with a difficult employer.

When your stress is already affecting your health, it will be difficult for you to provide care. it will make a huge impact on you as well as to the person you are caring for. 

So how do you really manage stress?

1. The first step in managing stress is burnouts is to know exactly the signs and symptoms.

  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Anxiety and Irritability
  • Depression
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Feeling tired and lethargic all the time
  • Overeating or not eating at all
  • Smoking and Drinking way too often
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Recurring flu or other health problems
  • Trouble relaxing
  • Feeling hopeless and helpless

2. Ask Help 

  • Say "Yes" to assistance. You cannot always do it alone. There are times when you need help from one of your employer's children or family member. Don't be shy about asking for help even just for some errands like groceries or as simple as ordering packages of adult diapers from a local store.
  • Speak Up. Let your employer's family knows the real situation. If you are having difficulties in dealing with your employer, do not hesitate to tell the children and most importantly, your agency.
  • Know your limits. You cannot do everything. You just cannot. As much as possible, spread the responsibility. You can asked the family members to at least help you with some things during their free time. Especially if it's your day off.

3. Take your Day-Off

  • Get out of the House. Some might prefer to stay to have their overtime pay on weekends but, it's not healthy at all. You have to go out, pamper yourself, laugh with your friends and catch some long hours of sleep.
  • Share your Thoughts. Have some trusted friends to talk to and share your feelings. It is important to release all the pent up feelings and have someone who will listen to all your ranting as well as your thoughts about certain situations.
  • Have some time for yourself everyday. Have at least 30 minutes for yourself everyday. You can nap a bit or use that time to talk to your family back home. You can also spend this time reading or doing a hobby like knitting or watching your favorite show on TV.

4. Take Care of your Health

  • Have a regular check-up. Physical check-up is free because it's covered by your health insurance. Take time to visit a doctor and have yourself checked even if you don't feel anything. 
  • Exercise and Eat well. Balance your life in all aspects including things that you eat and proper exercise. Avoid unhealthy things such as processed and sugary food. It is also important for you to stretch your muscles and observe proper body mechanics.
  • Sleep whenever you have a chance. Sometimes, your job will require you to be awake in the middle of the night. You have to have at least 6-8 hours of sleep everyday. Grab every chance you get and take a nap.

5. Accept Reality

  • Focus on the things you can control and let go of the ones you can't. It's reality. You went abroad to work and for sure, you don't expect things will be much easier for you. Caregiving is not a joke. It takes one special person to do this job. Instead of focusing on the things that you cannot change, practice on accepting reality and try to focus on the positive side of the situation.


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