Life as a caregiver can often mean that you’re facing challenging situations from lots of different sources. Handling that stress is not always as easy as you might hope.
Cry, Scream, or Find Another Way to Get Your Feelings Out
Some of the emotions you might experience as a caregiver are ones that don’t feel all that cheery. It’s okay to feel these emotions instead of bottling them up. A pressure release can help. Find a safe space, like the bathroom or your bedroom, and give yourself a few seconds to scream into your pillow or to cry it out. Even this small pressure release can help you to avoid having an outburst with your aging family member.
Write it All Down and then Tear it Up
Lots of the emotions that you’re feeling are due to situations that you cannot control or change at all. That doesn’t mean that the emotions go away, of course. One way for you to deal with this is to write out how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way. Tearing up what you’ve written or burning it in a safe location, such as a fireplace, can give you a sense of closure even if the situation itself cannot have closure.
Make a Gratitude List
Focusing on what you’re grateful for is more powerful than you might think. Taking just a few minutes to jot down even three different items you’re grateful for a day can help you to keep things in perspective. Some days will be easier than others. One day you might be grateful for your alarm clock, coffee, and not having to make phone calls. That’s okay.
Work it Out
Physical activity is another powerful tool that can really help you to release some of the emotions you’re experiencing. Take a brisk walk, even if it’s just on the treadmill. Do a few crunches or go through a few of your favorite yoga poses. Even getting up and walking around the house can help to get your blood flowing and to help you feel less penned in.
Walk Away for a Little Bit
Sometimes a walk around the block or on a treadmill isn’t enough distance. You might need to get away from the entire caregiving situation for a couple of hours in order to get your head back in the game. This isn’t wrong at all and it’s something that you should actually be doing regularly to help avoid those moments when you’re feeling lost.
Remember that even while you’re a caregiver you’re also a human being. You have emotions and needs of your own that aren’t something that you can change at a moment’s notice. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself what you need.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Plainsboro, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.