Caregivers work long hours under a lot of stress which can lead to caregiver depression. They have their own personal workloads plus the job of looking after a loved one or a patient. They are responsible for the emotional and physical health of someone else and tend to forget about caring for themselves.

What are the major signs of caregiver depression?

  • Unexplained physical aches and pains, brought on by too much stress. These usually show up as headaches or pain through the back and neck.
  • Sleep problems such as insomnia or in some cases sleeping too much.
  • Changes in appetite and eating. Either having no appetite or overeating.
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Feeling tired no matter how much sleep you have had.

If you are a caregiver, there are ways you can care for yourself and avoid depression.

  1. Always ask for help. Know when you are doing too much and ask relatives for help or hire someone to help with tasks. Learn to delegate tasks to others and to prioritize what you need to do while leaving the rest. There are volunteers and non-profit organizations that can help you.
  2. Don’t stop having a social life. Your life can’t be all about work and looking after someone else. Carve out small chunks of time when you can go out with others. Meet friends for breakfast or just for a coffee. Staying in touch with others will help you maintain a sense of your own life.
  3. Maintain a positive attitude. Find something to laugh about every day. Read an entertaining book before you go to sleep at night or watch a funny movie. It will improve your mood and help you to sleep better.

Remember that this too shall pass and gets lots of rest. For more information, read  How Caregivers Can Avoid Depression.