No matter how you look at it, taking care of an aging parent or spouse leads to worry, fear, and grief especially if you’re facing realities of dying. Those are a few of the emotions you, the family caregiver experience in the journey.
Emotions will cover a spectrum from sadness, anger, resentment, confusion and disappointment and some feelings just seem to come out of nowhere; or, from the strife of your patient/loved one not doing what the doctor told them, or other family members not stepping up to help that makes you burst out and lash out in anger.
What are you doing to take care of yourself? These emotions will keep piling on, so what are you going to DO about it?
In our blog When Did You Realize You’re A Caregiver we give you five action steps for you to do right away.
A sixth step is to watch for signs of stress within yourself. Living in a state of constant stress or intense stress leads to illness. Review the check list of signs of stress and the symptoms they cause: http://caretocaregiver.org/are-you-experiencing-signs-of-stress/
The ticking time-bombs of stress are: feeling angry, irritable, frustrated, anxious, overwhelmed, can’t think or concentrate, hard to complete sentences, burnt-out, can’t sleep, pacing/nervous, forgetting, can’t remember things, too tired to do anything.
What do you now? You Do something! Taking action to take care of you is productive and positive thing to do.
Here are a few ideas:
- Listen to podcasts that are educational, spiritual, and lead you to positive thinking. You might need ear buds, with one bud in your ear and the other ear open to listen for your loved one.
- Pray. Even if you don’t know what to pray for, just say “please help me God, help me”.
- Journal – write down what you’re thinking and feeling. If you are too tired to think, just write that, “I’m too tired to think”. Get your pen moving on paper. It’s doing something. Now challenge yourself to write one word in your journal that is positive. Any word will do. Draw or doodle too.
- Draw or color on one of those new adult coloring pages. Here’s one online: https://www.thebalance.com/free-printable-coloring-pages-for-adults-1358144
- Find a neighbor or friend who can sit with your loved-one while you get your hair cut, go for a walk, go out to lunch, get a pedicure.
- Get some talk therapy just for you. Private, focused on you. You’ll have to do some research for a psychologist in your area.
- Check out an App-for-that mental therapy at Ginger.IO where you can connect with a coach (a human) right away by downloading the App.
If you got inspired by at least of one these action items, you’re heading in the right direction. Go DO it!
If none of these ideas clicked for you, contact us-Danny.Howard@CareToCaregiver.org