Today, 1 of 3 adults in the United States is an informal caregiver. Coping as a caregiver means often facing conflicting emotions. Some days will be good and you’ll have a deep sense of fulfillment and connection. Other days will be harder and you may feel guilt, grief, and even anger. On the hard days, you’ll have to invest more time in caring for yourself. Taking the time to care for yourself will help you care for your loved one with patience and understanding.
Coping as a Caregiver
Caring for a loved one who is suffering and may not be able to show appreciation is challenging. Here are some ways to make it easier for yourself.
- Remain socially active. If you want to care for your loved one in the best possible way, you need to make room in your schedule for your own social life. Make time to meet your friends, for a quick phone call, for the hobby you love. Social contact will bring you joy and reenergize you.
- Take breaks. Make sure you have some free time to look forward to. Accept the help you’re your family, friends and neighbors offer. Look out for volunteer groups that can keep your loved one company while you take a break.
- Talk it out. Some days, you just need to vent. Don’t hide your feelings. Talk to friends or family who give you positive support. A therapist can be a great help, too. You can be totally honest without fear of judgment.
- Join a support group. You can find them online or in places like hospitals and senior centers. Here you can share your feelings and get support. You can also share tips with other caregivers and learn how to make things easier.
- Make time to exercise. If you are feeling fit, you will be able to do more. Exercising, especially outdoors, will boost your physical and mental health.
Focusing on The Positive
Realize that what you are doing is a hallowed calling. By taking care of your loved one, you can have a sense of purpose in your life and give back to someone you love. Use the time to draw closer to your loved one. And above all, remember that you have been given a chance to model care giving for your children so they might do the same someday.