“Caregiver Stress Syndrome: Identifying Symptoms, Finding Solutions”

This article is about “caregiver stress syndrome” (also called “caregiver syndrome).  The author, Rob Harris, who was a caregiver for his wife, states that this syndrome “is an overwhelming feeling that engulfs you as a result of your caregiver duties, responsibilities, constant anxiety, and the loss of self.”

This syndrome is “a new way to categorize the emotional, physiological, and psychological changes one experiences from chronic stress created by the continuous and seemingly endless caregiving activities one is confronted with on a regular basis.”

Here’s a link to the full article on robcares.com:


Caregiver Stress Syndrome: Identifying Symptoms, Finding Solutions
From robcares.com
by Rob Harris, SPHR
December 26, 2012

The article ends with a list of “ten strategies every caregiver should follow to stay healthy.”  I’ve copied that list below.

This article was mentioned in a recent Link2Care email.

Rob Harris has written a book titled “We’re In This Together: A Caregiver’s Story.”  If anyone reads the book, please let me know if you’d recommend it!



Excerpts From

Caregiver Stress Syndrome: Identifying Symptoms, Finding Solutions
From robcares.com
by Rob Harris, SPHR
December 26, 2012

Ten Strategies Every Caregiver Should Follow To Stay Healthy

1. Know that you are worthy.

As a caregiver, it’s acceptable to occasionally be depressed and believe life is passing you by. The key is that it’s a short-term emotional state. You have as many talents and contributions you can make. You can accomplish great things and can achieve success. Being a caregiver can provide you with a perspective and appreciation of life that few others will ever know. Most of us that are, or have been, caregivers appreciate each and every day because we have been exposed to external events most others only read about.

2. Never stop growth and improving yourself.

Each month, select a category that you would like to see yourself improve in. Once you have decided what it is, work on improving it for a month. Learn about it, focus attention on ways to improve, and document your strategy and progress. Select a new topic each month. You need not have mastered the category. At the end of the year you will have improved twelve different areas of your life. Even if you improved each by a small percentage, improvement occurred. How many others can make this claim?

3. Stop fighting yourself!

You are your biggest adversary. Strategically reduce negative thoughts and comments. For every negative thought or comment you make about yourself, pause and try to find the positive in each. For example, rather than saying, “Here comes another horrible day,” consider this instead: “I made it through another day yesterday and I am here on earth to make the best of today.” Make a concerted effort to think positively rather than allow the negative thoughts to pull you down.

4. Maintain or elevate your level of self-confidence.

Smile — This may feel strange, but if you hold a smile for no less than 30 seconds, your brain begins to react. It doesn’t understand why you’re smiling, so it begins to send endorphins your way so as to justify your smile. You will honestly begin to feel better and your mood will change if you smile. Along with that, smile at others. They will smile back. It, too, will have a positive impact upon your belief that you can influence others in a positive way.

5. Commit random acts of kindness.

Look for opportunities to help others every day, whether it is friends, colleagues, strangers, or volunteer organizations. Making someone else feel happy and valued will improve your belief that you can influence others. Your level of self-confidence will grow.

6. Correspond via social media.

Read about what you’re facing. Learn how to improve your situation. Join social media outlets and share your knowledge and ability to improve the lives of others that may be beginning the journey you have been on for a longer period of time.

7. Dress well.

Look good; feel good. If you care about how you look, others will respond. They will react to you differently than they might ordinarily.

8. Start your day on a positive note.

For an entire year, many of which were spent in a hospital caring for my wife, I started each and every day with the song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin. My wife and I would begin our day singing the song, no matter how debilitating her medical condition was at the time. It made a huge difference in how we began each and every morning.

9. Have commitment.

Commit to carrying out these tips. Commit to being a more confident person. Write it down and tell people. By making your confidence quest real, you are far more likely to get there.

10. Avoid isolation.

Never go a day without stepping outside, if even for a few minutes. Go to a grocery store, fill up your tank with gas, walk around the block, or go to the gym for an hour. Make eye contact, nod at passers-by, and possibly start a conversation with people. It will reduce the feeling of loneliness you experience. Contact an organization that specializes in the ailment your loved one is facing. They have others that are in similar situations. Communicate with others. Make friends. Expand your network. The larger your network, the less isolated you might feel.

For every negative, there is a positive. For every problem, there is a solution. For every lonely person, there is someone ready, willing, and able to speak with and provide possible solutions.

As caregivers, we are being recognized for our efforts and the obstacles we face. Solutions are being offered. We no longer have to feel our lives have ended. There is so much to live for. Our only challenge is to know how and where to look. Doing so can do wonders for how you view your role as a vital contributor to your loved one’s health, your personal growth, and your positive, lasting impression on others.