Whether you’re a professional caregiver or a civilian with a needy loved one to tend to, you share distinct qualities. Namely, you care. But if you’re not mindful, you also might think you’re in a unique situation. 

You may believe the stress you regularly feel is a unique burden. It’s not, and it pays to remember that — although most people don’t.

Take it from Icelandic-American author Gudjon Bergmann.

“There is no such thing as a stress-free life,” he observed. “No evidence has ever been presented which suggests that a stress-free life can ever be achieved. Stress can be managed, relieved and lessened, but never eliminated.”

Long-term care employees would agree, a thousand times over. That’s why you also should remember the advice of the good Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski: “Times of stress are also times that are signals for growth, and if we use adversity properly, we can grow through adversity.”

So let today start a period of fantastic personal growth. With a tip of the cap to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, let me share a few ideas how to do it:

1. Keep a flexible attitude. Be adaptable and positive. Aim for building solutions to ever-evolving situations.

2. Remember you can’t control everything. React accordingly, and you might even find some unexpected solutions.

3. Prioritize your own health. You know all the bromides about good habits, sleep, physical exercise, eating right, etc. They’re true.

4. Clear your mind regularly. Whether it’s through listening to favorite tunes, yoga, walking or meditation … do whatever blows away the fog. 

5. Don’t try to solve everything at once. It’s unrealistic. Set practical goals and priorities, and then move methodically.

6. Remain connected with family and friends. Social media and digital communications make it easier than ever.

7. Start gabbing. Whether with a fellow professional or
a stranger, it can help to
talk about the stress you’re feeling. 

Of course, I have an eighth tip. It’s an approach I put in almost anything I do: Keep a good sense of humor. This, of course, can be layered into each of the points above. Humor — don’t leave home without it.

And if nothing else, remember the advice of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and filmmaker David Mamet.

“We must have a pie,” he notes. “Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.”