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Managing stress

As a carer you may find yourself to be in a situation that places you under increased stress. There may be many responsibilities and frustrations for you to cope with and feelings of anger and hopelessness are not uncommon.

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Ongoing stress can lead to health problems, affecting your own well being which also impacts on those around you. Stress can strain relations, and it's not just your relationship with the person you are caring for that can be affected.

For example, caring for an elderly parent can place enormous strain on a marriage because of the continual stress experienced by the carer or the perceived lack of support from your partner.

Stress is an individual experience and may be caused by one or more of many different factors. You could be worried about money, the future, the health of the person you care for or the activities of other members of the family, or you may feel guilty. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

Physical symptoms         
  • Headaches                    
  • Tirednesss                    
  • Lethargy                      
  • Aches and pains               
  • Changes in weight          
  • Changes in appetite       
  • Changes in sleeping pattern      
  • Dealing with stress

Emotional symptoms
  • Tearfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Feeling helpless
  • Anger
  • Loneliness


No matter how your caring role impacts on your life, there may come a time when you experience higher than normal levels of stress. Often it is worth talking to your GP who may be able to refer you to counselling or other methods of support.

  • Using friends and family for discussion and support

  • Using the carers' boards on this site in the community section to talk to other carers, or attending local support groups of carers

  • Talking through the situation with appropriate professionals, face-to-face or by telephone

  • Seeking help and advice from GPs, pharmacists and other health professionals

Your local Carers Centre may be able to support you through offering advice and information, time for yourself or perhaps even a few sessions of holistic therapy.