Caregiving can be beautiful and immensely rewarding, but it can also have some very dark times. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect. Today, resolve to treat yourself with the same compassion that you give to others.
When you’re so exhausted you could cry
Has it been so long since you’ve had a break that you don’t even remember what relaxing means? Stress takes a serious toll on your body – you can only put off taking care of yourself for so long. Don’t get stressed out about being stressed out, though – there’s lots of things you can do, even if you only have 3 minutes. Can you carve out 20 minutes to relax? No, fine, just focus on the little things for a while. You can find the energy for tomorrow.
There’s not nearly enough support for caregivers. Perhaps you can recruit some new members for your caregiving team. No matter how well you’ve planned, finances are overwhelming. You may also qualify for medicaid or programs that pay family caregivers for their work. There are ways to share the care.
When you’ve had enough of your family
Did your parents tell you that you’d get along with your siblings when you were older? Sibling conflict feels inevitable with caregiving, but it can be kept to a minimum. Learning to listen can help you untangle tricky emotions. Are absentee family members appearing and taking over your home? Are you overwhelmed by visitors? Let’s set some boundaries. You can take care of someone you don’t get along with without losing your mind.
When you’re living at the hospital
Are you stuck in the waiting room? In and out of the ER? It’s okay to get frustrated. Does it seem like your doctors don’t know what they’re talking about? Don’t be afraid to speak up. The hospital isn’t a very caregiver-friendly place, but you might have more in common with the hospital staff than you realize. Take a moment to recognize that we’re in this together.
When you’re overcome with grief
Remember, there’s life after caregiving. Some of us get ‘addicted’ to caregiving, but you are so many things besides just being a caregiver. You can channel the pain into action and build something amazing. The people we love are always with us. Maybe your support network rallied around you that first year and then seemed to forget about you. There’s no ‘right’ amount of time to grieve. You can reach out to your friends and start to re-build your life today. What do you want to do?
When it feels like it’s too late
Has it already gone too far? Here’s what to do when you’ve reached your breaking point.
Caregiving is traumatic. So often things just come one after another. Maybe you’re experiencing compassion fatigue, and that’s okay. Take one step and then the next. Caregivers face their worst fears and keep going. You can make it through this. People care. You can navigate these challenges. Don’t fight how you feel.
Find a local support group. Connect on our forums. Talk to caregivers on our facebook groups. Is no one online? Here are more tips on surviving the hard times in caregiving from our community.
I look at it as I get to instead of I have to
I’m just so tired
It is ALL worth it in the end.
It’s hard if you always have to have an ear out to be able to listen to any music.
I do miss my music.
It does get harder and harder.
Earphones with Yanni for a few minutes ..
or any music you like ..
A few deep breaths outside
I am very behind in bills and I am trying to build a business to help. I struggle inside all the time. When it’s too much I do Karaoke and I guess that may be my way of screaming so Charles I know what you are saying all too well
I also feel the emotions expressed in your article. Am I doing enough, not enough, to much, what, when, where, why. I have scared all the animals in the forest with screams. (This often helps) I can relate to sweetpea 68’s feelings of isolation. A warm, heart-felt THANK YOU for your information and insight.
Goodness, have felt a lot just like this article described lately….Was grateful to read it and appreciate you posting it. A lot of times there is just nobody that understands these feelings to talk to and it does not help being isolated. At least found this group with helpful people and info. Thank you.
I’m glad you found us!