How Can I Overcome Caregiver Dread?
What are your first thoughts as soon as you wake up each morning? Are you looking forward to what your day will bring, or would you rather crawl back underneath the covers and stay there? If you find yourself wondering, “How can I overcome caregiver dread?” you are not alone.
Distinctly different from depression, anxiety, and even burnout, caregiver dread is a heavy, exhausted sense of duty. It stems from feelings of overcommitment and the need to get away from responsibilities. While it is possible to push through and carry out needed tasks regardless of these feelings, there are methods to conquer them instead – and restore the joy that comes from making life better for someone you love. To begin with, try these techniques:
- Let go of the guilt. Meeting the caregiving needs of a person you love can feel unimpactful, mundane, and just downright tough. It takes selflessness, which can feel burdensome. Yet dreading the day-to-day tasks you are needed to do by no means reflects the way you feel about your loved one. Acknowledge to yourself that your role isn’t easy, and therefore it’s okay to wish you could be doing something else.
- Intentionally search for joy. The little pleasures every day holds might be dimmed because of the difficulties you’re experiencing. Make a point each and every morning to identify five little things that make you smile. Keep a diary of each day’s finds and refer back to it at the conclusion of each week. Engage all of your senses as you look for the day’s joys: the smell of freshly baked cookies; the beauty of the sunset; the sound of your cat purring; the invigorating feeling of a hot shower.
- Set boundaries. Schedule time daily to devote to things that you enjoy independent of the senior loved one in your care. Plan and look forward to this time when your caregiving tasks start to weigh you down. An established and reliable care partner is key to make sure nothing impedes with the important time of taking care of yourself.
Remind yourself that the work you’re doing in taking care of your senior loved one is extremely important. Yet also remember that no one can do it all, and in order to provide the very best care for your loved one and for yourself, regular breaks from care tasks are crucial.
Contact our aging care experts online or at (866) 940-4343 to arrange for regular respite care services and release the stress of caregiver dread. Our caregivers are here for as much or as little assistance as you need to help you enjoy quality time with a loved one and also to rediscover joy in your own life as well.
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