One thing that many caregivers endure is stress. Stress from worry, from fatigue, from trying to meet the everyday demands of caregiving. Recent studies have shown that just being around friends at some point during a negative period where you feel you’re at your wit’s end can actually reduce stress. A study published in the Journal of Psychology, found that children aged 10 - 13 who spent time with friends during a negative period had lower levels of cortisol, an indicator of stress, in their saliva. In fact, their levels were lower than even when they spent time during this period with a family member, such as a sibling or a parent, or even a teacher.
Research has shown over and over that having strong social networks can greatly improve your mental well being and reduce the medical effects of stress. Having a good friend to talk to when you’re drowning in stormy seas can help get you back into calm waters and diminish your feeling of being overwhelmed. And children, adults, and men and women all benefit equally from having good friends.
According to The American Institute of Stress, around 3 in 4 doctors' visits are a result of stress-related illness, and stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human illness and disease. So to maintain your health, having a tight circle of good friends is one of the best ways to manage stress, for everyone.
With so much on your plate it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling down on yourself and the world at large. You can reverse this thinking process by calling upon your friends for support. They will feel good for being there for you and you will feel good about yourself.