STRUGGLING with DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, or BIPOLARITY? LEARNING can really HELP. Start with ARTICLES above or Topics below. Ty! Bill

Caregivers for the Emotionally & Mentally Ill: 10 Stress-Busters

“I‘m doing the best I can caring for Julie. She’s having such a hard time. Oh, I’m hanging-on; but I could sure use some help with the stress.”

We began a two-part series yesterday on caregiver stress for those attending to someone enduring an emotional and/or mental illness. The concept was prompted by a telling study I came upon. Here’s a link to yesterday’s piece, which details the work.

Today, I’ll recap the study and offer 10 Stress-Busters.


Interestingly, the study pointed-out that caring for the emotionally/mentally ill can be more heart and gut-wrenching than providing care for someone suffering from dementia.

The bottom-line of the work…

The willingness and ability to be flexible with life-goals (work, school, relationships, leisure time, etc.) protect caregivers from depressive symptoms. And that reduces the potential for relying upon self-blame and substances to endure their circumstances.

Caregivers who over-extend themselves – attempting to take on new life-goals – increase their levels of stress.

10 Stress-Busters

Those caring for the emotionally and mentally ill give so much of themselves. Here are 10 Stress-Busters just for them (you)…

  1. Renew your commitment to yourself, and the one for whom you care, on a daily basis. If this becomes difficult, it’s time to take a look and seek help.
  2. As you consider taking-on a new life-goal (work, school, relationships, leisure time, etc.), think about whether it needs to be an addition or substitution.
  3. Maintain your physical health – eat well, sleep sufficiently, and exercise.
  4. Stay connected with family members and/or friends.
  5. Not only ask for help when times get tough, but have a call-list within finger’s reach.
  6. Make sure you’re tied-in with as many community/online resources as possible.
  7. Maintain a “me-time” regimen – getting-out, meditating, journaling, yoga, mindfulness work, etc.
  8. Don’t stuff! It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling – which, at times, may be resentment and anger. Get it out and process. If you have difficulty doing it on your own, turn to a family member or friend. Consider a counseling relationship.
  9. Learn to say no! Boundaries and assertiveness are crucial. There’s only so much of you to go around.
  10. At least once a day, take the time to give yourself the reassurance and love you deserve. You’re an extraordinary person, and hearing that from you is so powerful.

Faith and Her Mother/It’s a Wrap

Faith was a 24-year-old paranoid schizophrenic. She was presently living at home, and she was going through a time of disturbing impulsivity.

Her mother called asking for a home-visit. Certainly, Faith was the focus of the call. But when I went eye-to-eye with her mother, I really wondered who deserved the most attention.

She looked emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. Who wouldn’t?

Are you caring for someone enduring an emotional and/or mental illness? Don’t ever forget – you have today’s and tomorrow’s too.

Care for yourself!

  • I can’t believe no one has made a comment on this particular article! I work in the mental health field and am constantly looking for new ways to help build my team and the bond with our staff and the individuals I work with.
    Any additional articles besides this and the FABULOUS “Thank You!” article swimming around here? I must admit your search engine isn’t exactly the finest in the world, but your writing is fantastic! It breaks all the disorders down in brief approachable and accurate matters, and I am just devouring articles!
    Thanks so much for doing what you do!

    • Great to have you as a visitor and participant, Liz. You appear to be so devoted to your work, and that’s inspiring. Sorry ’bout the “search engine.” Are you referring to the search box at top right? Always looking for constructive criticism, so if you read this reply please provide more detail. At any rate, thank you for the compliment on my writing and articles – all labors of love. Again, glad to have you on board!