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Action Plan for Caregiver Stress Management

22 Nov 2017

Adhering to general principles and practices that can help you manage caregiver stress and prevent burnout is important. But, having effective coping skills also means having an action plan. A good action plan deals with four major organizational and problem-solving areas. The following table summarizes these areas and lists some concrete steps that you can take to achieve your stress management, burnout prevention and problem-solving goals to make you a healthy and effective caregiver.

The Action Plan

Stress Management

  • Exercise

  • Know your limits and set limits with others

  • Make time to do the things you enjoy

  • Talk to someone about your feelings, worries, frustrations

  • Repeat after me – “it’s okay to cry”, but not continually

  • Avoid self-medication

Time Management

  • Make a daily “to do” list

  • Do the most important or most difficult things first

  • Save up errands to do all at once

  • Take along a small task if you know you’re going somewhere where you’ll have to wait, like a doctor’s appointment

  • Figure out what are the things you must do. Delegate what you can. Forget what is unnecessary.

  • Know that some time will be spent on activities beyond your control

Decision Making

  • Define and clarify the issue

  • Set up criteria that any solution or decision should meet. For example, there is enough time, it is affordable

  • Select the best possible solution for everybody involved

  • Design an action plan to achieve that solution, focusing on achieving the small steps along the way

  • Celebrate each accomplishment, no matter how small

Lifestyle Management

  • Exercise

  • Eat right

  • Rest

  • Relax

  • Maintain a sense of humour

  • Get regular medical and dental check-ups

  • Develop and use a support system

Adapted from Haigler, D.H., Mims, K.B., Nottingham, J.A. (1998). Caring for you caring for me: education and support for caregivers. Georgia: University of Georgia Press.