What are your first thoughts as soon as you wake up each morning? Are you looking forward to what the day will bring, or would you rather crawl back under the covers and stay there? If you’re struggling with one of the most common challenges of caregiving, feeling more dread than delight when you consider your caregiving tasks for the day, you’re not alone.
Distinctly different from depression, anxiety, or even burnout, caregiver dread is a heavy, exhausted sense of duty. It comes from feelings of overcommitment and the need to break free from obligations. While possible to muscle through and perform needed tasks regardless of these feelings, there are ways to overcome them instead – and regain the joy which comes from making life better for someone you love. For starters, try these techniques:
- Let go of the guilt. Meeting the care needs of a loved one can feel unimpactful, mundane, and simply downright hard. It requires selflessness, which can feel burdensome. Yet dreading the daily tasks you are required to do in no way is a reflection of how you feel about your family member. Admit to yourself that your role is not easy, and that it’s okay to wish you could be doing something different.
- Purposely search for joy. The little pleasures every day holds can be dimmed by the difficulties. Make a point every day to identify five small things that make you smile. Keep a journal of every day’s finds and refer back to it at the end of every week. Engage all of your senses as you look for the day’s joys: the smell of freshly baked cookies; the beauty of the sunrise; the sound of your kitten purring; the invigorating feeling of a hot shower.
- Set boundaries. Designate time each day to devote to activities that you enjoy apart from the senior loved one in your care. Plan and look forward to this time when your caregiving tasks start to weigh you down. A trustworthy 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 caring for your loved one is vitally important. Yet also keep in mind that no-one can do it all, and in order to provide the very best care for your senior loved one as well as for yourself, frequent breaks from care tasks are very important.
Call Atlanta Home Care Partners, providers of high quality personal care in Atlanta and nearby areas, at (404) 228-0103 to arrange for regular respite care services and release the burden of caregiving dread. We’re here for as much or as little assistance as you need to help you enjoy quality time along with a family member and to rediscover joy in your own life as well.