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Men: Relieving Stress and Exhaustion

Life can be more stressful especially as you age where you find yourself taking care of your parents, while still raising your children.  Being a man caring for a wife, partner, or parents can lead to sleepless nights and uneaten meals. You may find yourself juggling work, family, and the needs of everyone except yourself.  This can lead to stress and exhaustion in a very short time. 

As Army Medics say: Don’t become a casualty, taking care of casualties!  Men need to care for themselves.

It is important to know the signals of stress and exhaustion.  Here is a quick list, but there may be other signals and causes related to your specific situation.hammock

Signals: Potential Causes:
Poor Eating Habits Too much to do
Lack of sleep Too much to do
No time to exercise Not fulfilling your own needs
No time to do things you like Not saying "no"
Cranky Not saying "no"
Lack of family sleep Not agreeing with family members

Caring for your loved one after a stroke shows your love and can be rewarding.  It is important to take care of yourself so you can continue to care for your loved one.  After all, if you are sick who will care for the one you love?

Do you know how to manage the causes of stress and exhaustion?  Here are some ideas for managing stress and exhaustion:

  • Too much to do:
    • Learn to prioritize by:
      • Writing a list of daily needs
      • Write on a calendar the health care provider visits
      • Set the same day per week aside for doing the bills, or grocery shopping.
    • It is OK to let things wait.
    • It is OK to ignore the phone at times.
    • Accept help from neighbors and friends to sit with your loved one.
    • If you are affiliated with a church, ask for meals to be brought to your home.
  • Not fulfilling your own needs:
    • Take time for a hobby (woodworking, gardening, etc.).
    • Go for coffee with a friend.
    • Go for a walk.
    • Take a nap.
    • Visit your health care provider.
  • Learn to say “No”:
    • Say “No” to certain chores when you find your self becoming cranky.
    • Ask for help:
      • Family, friends, church, and neighbors really do want to help.
      • Invite family members to help in the evening hours so you can sleep.
    • Remember that you should not and cannot do it all.
  • Not agreeing with family members:
    • Set a rule to always speak in a calm voice.
    • Listen to your family members anyway.
    • Practice choosing your battles wisely.
      • Negotiate, find a middle ground.
      • Don’t battle over something little like the laundry.

Additional Websites:


Baker, K.L., Robertson, N., & Connelly, D. (2010, April).  Men caring for wives or partners with dementia: Masculinity, strain and gain. Aging & Mental Health,14(3), 319-327. 

How to manage family conflict (n.d.). Retrieved from

Knutsen, H., & Raholm, M. (2009).  The dialectic movement between suffering and reconciliation: Male caregivers’ experience of caring for their wives suffering from dementia.  International Journal for Human Caring, 13(4), 50-56. 

Kramer, B., & Thompson, E. (2005).  Men as caregivers.  Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books.

O’Dell, C.D. (2010, October).  Caregiving and multi-tasking: Are you trying to do too much?  Retrieved from

Taking care of you: Self-care for family caregivers (n.d.).  Retrieved from

Developed in 2011 by Karen Niner, RN, BSN at the University of Toledo for Caring~Web©.

Last Updated: 4/20/16