Being a caregiver to an elder is an exhausting job. It comes with tons of emotions and stress. It’s important that you not only understand how to care for your elder, but also how to manage your own stress.
Caregivers often share these four common emotions:
It’s more common than you think to feel guilt when caring for an elder. Sometimes you may feel angry or resentful over the situation. Some days you might not have the energy to provide the care your elder needs. You might think you’re doing a bad job. Guilt is a very typical emotion for caregivers. Knowing that may help you better deal with yours.
Many people experience anxiety even without the added stress of caring for an elder. Seeing your elder in an uncomfortable position can cause you to feel stressed and anxious.
While sadness occasionally takes over, you might find yourself feeling more angry than anything. You might be angry that your elder is struggling and suffering. You might also be angry that your life now revolves around someone else’s needs. Either way, anger is very common among caregivers.
Yes, you can grieve someone who’s still here. You might feel yourself grieving the person they used to be. Sometimes you may become uncontrollably sad thinking of a life without them. It’s normal to grieve while someone is still alive.
Daily Strategies to Keep You Going.
Even when life is most challenging, it’s important to take care of yourself. During difficult times, bad habits can develop. It’s important to practice healthy wellness strategies.
Get Support from People Who Understand.
Venting to a friend can help relieve some stress, but talking with someone who has been in your shoes and truly understands makes a huge difference. Join a support group, online or in person. Consider talking with a grief counselor. The last thing you should do is keep all of your emotions bottled up.
Get Out of Bed.
There will be days you don’t want to get out of bed. Because getting out of bed means dealing with reality. Get out of bed. Make your bed. Completing such a simple task starts your day off right — and it’s always nice to come home to a made bed. Take a walk outside. Sit in the sun for a few minutes. You’d be surprised by how much sunshine can lift your mood.
Make Time for Yourself.
It can be easy to lose pieces of yourself when you’re a caregiver. Continue doing things that make you happy. Whether it’s reading, jogging, painting or anything else, set aside time in your day to do it — even if you don’t feel like it at first. Finding a healthy outlet during stressful times is a great coping mechanism.
When you’re a caregiver, there will be trying times. Don’t forget to make time for yourself and celebrate small victories. With time and self care, life gets better.