Educators are caregivers to their students as well as to their colleagues. Some also have caregiving responsibilities at home — for a spouse, children or elderly parents. The associated stress can leave caregivers feeling frustrated, impatient, overwhelmed and exhausted. It’s a lot of pressure and it takes a toll.
- Feeling exhausted; unable to complete tasks.
- Feeling irritable at work over things that didn’t cause you stress in the past.
- Excessive smoking or drinking.
- Feeling isolated or abandoned.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Having difficulty prioritizing.
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy.
- Feeling guilty about not doing enough at work or at home.
- Does that describe you? If so, it’s time to take action.
- Let trusted colleagues know what’s going on so you’re not alone in this.
- Ask for help — and say yes when colleagues offer to do something for you.
- Learn to prioritize and delegate.
- Make stress your friend: Research shows that those who embrace stress have the longest lives (see resources below).
- Plan activities you enjoy.
- Join a support group for caregivers.
- The UFT Member Assistance Program will be offering a caregiver support group in January 2018. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-701-9620.
Now for the second year, MAP, in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Family Support Program of NYU Langone Medical Center, is offering a free workshop on Nov. 16 on coping with the stress of caregiving for someone who is suffering from progressive memory loss. Get more information and register at http://www.uft.org/files/uft-dementia-support-flier-2017.pdf .
For additional resources on relieving caregiver stress, visit www.uft.org/your-well-being.