You’ve nobly accepted the role of caregiver and are anxious to grab the reins and provide exceptional care for a loved-one. Horror stories describing the mental and emotional stress of caregiving are overexaggerated. Your independent personality paired with impressive problem solving skills will make caregiving’s challenges less difficult. Everything is under control. How emotionally draining can caregiving be? Meal preparation, bathing, dressing, afternoon naps, medication reminders….piece of cake, right? WRONG! As a young, energetic, independent woman, I was unable to keep up with caregiving’s daily demands. The emotions encountered during this journey were overwhelming and mentally exhausting. Varied emotions supported a vicious cycle of fatigue, burnout, and depression. Following are the emotions I experienced while persevering caregiving’s craziness!
- Worry is constant while caregiving. Anything and everything pertaining to the care-recipient becomes a worry. It’s emotionally draining and physically unhealthy. Excessive worrying wreaks havoc on caregivers’ minds and bodies. They lose confidence in their capabilities and experience unwanted weight loss or gain.
- Anger manifests when anxiety and depression overshadow your initial caregiving motives. Social isolation creates a stressful, argumentative environment. The world is viewed as unfair while onlookers question your caregiving intentions.
- Resentment occurs when caregiving becomes too overwhelming and the final result is burnout. High stress levels promote foggy thinking. Caregivers begin to blame the care-recipient for their inactive social lives and recurring health problems. Family and friends are disliked for their non-participation in major responsibilities.
- Loneliness is a direct result of social isolation and inconclusive respite care research. The four walls of a home are unifying but disharmonious. Concerns and needs are expressed, but only the walls are listening. Social isolation can be resolved by simple phone calls or visits from family and friends. Caregivers must have the opportunity to vent and voice their concerns.
- Guilt is an intrusive emotion continuing long after caregiving ends. The inability to improve a care-recipient’s quality of life or prevent deteriorating health fuels caregiver guilt. Death is an unavoidable conclusion overloading caregivers’ minds with doubtful thoughts and what-if’s. A care-recipient’s passing doesn’t release you from feelings of frustration and guilt.
- Grief transpires when caregivers anticipate the end of their caregiving journey. The reality of the situation becomes obvious and they begin grieving the care-recipient. A depressive mood lingers and consumes the care environment. It’s an emotionally draining unpreventable circumstance.
Caregiving reveals both positive and negative emotions. Avoid resenting the care-recipient for generated negative feelings. Combat caregiving’s emotional rollercoaster by instating a stable support system and arranging deserved respite care. Exhaustion fosters irrational thinking and moodiness. Practicing self-care and emphasizing initial caregiving goals will recreate your nurturing, caring, independent self. Thank you for reading. Good luck!
Caregiving consists of joint relationships focusing only on the needs of care-recipients. Caregivers are the significant but forgotten halves of these alliances. Quality care environments are created by satisfying the needs of caregivers AND care-recipients. In order to provide consistent quality care, caregivers need….
1.) ….dependable emotional support. Caregivers need to voice concerns and discuss emotional well-being. Monotonous hectic schedules cause emotional and physical stress. Providing support via in-home visits, phone calls, or respite care is an effective resolution for emotional stress.
2.) ….financial support. Caregiving requires many caregivers to resign from employment. They’re forced to survive on the care-recipient’s fixed income. Others reduce their employment status from full-time to part-time. Caregiver compensation programs are necessary for financial survival.
3.) ….appreciation and recognition for their devotion. Observers must acknowledge the mental, physical, and financial stress of caregiving. Caregivers are heroes working behind-the-scenes creating hope in seemingly hopeless situations. A simple THANK YOU can make a dark day lighter.
4.) ….time to de-stress and recharge. Caregiving is physically and emotionally exhausting. Rest is necessary for effective job performance. Programs enforcing respite care must be made available to caregivers and families. Unsupportive family and friends hinder stress release opportunities for caregivers. Funded respite care programs would foster caregivers’ health and encourage consistent quality care for care-recipients.
5.) ….better employment flexibility. Societal demands require caregivers to work and earn income while caring for loved-ones. Creating a work/caregiving balance is difficult. Many succumb to the exhaustion and are forced to resign from their employment. Employers must be more empathetic by offering reasonable leave of absence programs or schedule flexibility options.
Caregiving is a daunting task requiring endless hours of care and support. Observers focus on the needs of care-recipients and often disregard caregivers’ concerns or well-being. Their concerns may not share the same complexity as the patient’s needs, but are significant in maintaining the proper caregiving/life balance. Caregivers provide loved-ones with hope and security. Family and friends sleep soundly knowing their loved-ones are safe and secure. Caregivers’ needs must be acknowledged! Thank you for reading and take care! Please share!
Caregiving is a time-consuming responsibility that’s physically and emotionally draining. Sleep is a luxury enjoyed sparingly. Life is consumed by the care-recipient and self-care is seemingly non-existent. Observers emphasize the importance of self-care, but never volunteer time for its completion. Many caregivers are restricted to the confines of home and don’t have infinite self-care options. Few are allowed the time for walking or jogging nature trails. There are no gym visits or facials and massages. Every minute of the day revolves around the care-recipient’s needs.
How can time for self-care be integrated into your hectic schedule? Take advantage of available time during the day. Correctly utilizing brief moments allows for proper self-care management. Relieve stress and boost your confidence by practicing these beneficial self-care tips.
- Compliment yourself each morning. Compose a list of your best qualities. Read this list when in doubt of your self-worth.
- Perform an emotions self-check. Sit calmly for a designated amount of time and ponder exactly what you’re feeling. Document those feelings.
- Limit the negativity transpiring in your life. Eliminate people and social media serving no positive purpose in your current lifestyle.
- Look through a window and appreciate the surrounding natural environment.
- Let loose! Turn on your favorite tunes and get lost in the music. Learn to laugh and enjoy being you.
- Complete controlled breathing or moderate stretching exercises.
- Create an in-home exercise routine suitable for your time schedule and fitness level.
- Re-evaluate your diet and include healthier versions of the foods you love.
- Realize and document your thoughts and concerns. Suggest an open discussion with family and friends to voice your objections.
- Splurge and treat yourself to a favorite food, new wardrobe piece, or 10 minutes of alone time.
- Change your monotonous daily schedule by integrating one new activity.
- Find a secluded location within your home and sit in silence for a short moment. Block out surrounding sounds and concentrate on breathing.
- Walk outside or sit near a window and absorb a little sunshine.
- Indulge in a 10 minute power nap and return to caregiving refreshed.
- Circulate aromas throughout your home stimulating mood and senses.
- When given the opportunity, ask for and accept help.
Self-care is a lifestyle change involving consistent care of the mind, body, and soul. Bodily systems work in unison to create a physical, mental, and emotional balance. Integrating the mentioned tips into your daily schedule will alleviate everyday stress and improve self-confidence. Open your mind and allow yourself deserved care.
What self-care activities do you practice daily?
Respond by leaving a comment! Thank you for reading and take care! Please share!
As a young caregiver, I often dwelled on caregiving’s negative aspects. No wild college parties, spring break vacations, or date nights. My young adult life revolved around caring for my grandmother. We were restricted to the confines of home. Family visited for holidays and special occasions. Observers volunteered unhelpful advice and insisted I should be grateful for my open availability. I cherished moments with my grandmother, but 24/7 seemed excessive. She and I were independent women from different generations. Each needed alone time to gather thoughts and reflect on current life struggles. Alone but together was my 19 year old caregiver mentality.
Our caregiving journey progressed; I matured and found new appreciation for my grandmother. She epitomized strong-will and independence. Strokes and congestive heart failure were debilitating, but never destroyed her youthful spirit. My admiration grew as I watched her battle and overcome painful illnesses. She was my hero, an inspiration who proved a strong will to live could conquer seemingly fatal obstacles. Her love for living was contagious and I’m glad I caught the bug. Independence was taught through encouragement. Self-doubt turned into confidence. She surfaced my forgotten inner-strengths.
Maturity brought faith related questions. Why do good people suffer? Why is life so unfair to kind and gentle individuals? I’m still searching for the answers. Caregiving revealed lost emotions and gave my life purpose. I easily empathized with all living things and shared concern for the welfare of others. There’s always some good in bad situations. Was I satisfied with my grandmother suffering from illness? No. However, this obstacle and life’s spontaneity determined my morality and mentality. Caregiving created an independent, mature adult devoted to the happiness and well-being of others. Responsibilities were no longer burdens and life was beautiful.
Caring for an ailing loved-one is stressful and mentally draining. Remember and reflect on the positive experiences. Realize your growth by documenting personal and emotional changes. Caregiving granted me new perspectives. Light exists at the end of seemingly endless tunnels. I’m patient, understanding, and sympathetic to the needs of others. My appreciation for humanity is ever growing. The elderly are no longer lonely, crotchety people loathing the sight of youth. They’re fascinating, charismatic, wise human beings surviving life. Aging is not a burden, but a blessing. The wisdom and love learned through aging is life’s greatest experience. I’ve newfound respect for the Greatest Generation. They provided us the world in which we live and freedom to love ourselves and others equally. My grandmother showed strength thought nonexistent. She’s my inspiration. Our 11 year journey established my character and integrity. Caregiving shaped my soul. Thank you for reading!