What are your very first thoughts as soon as you wake up in the morning? Are you looking forward to what your day holds, or would you prefer to crawl back underneath the covers and remain there? If you’re experiencing more dread than delight when you think through your caregiving responsibilities for the day, you’re not the only one.
Distinctly different from anxiety, depression, or even burnout, family caregiving dread is a heavy, exhausted feeling of obligation. It is caused by feelings of overcommitment as well as the need to break free from responsibilities. While possible to push through and carry out necessary tasks in spite of these feelings, there are ways to conquer them instead – and regain the joy that comes from making life better for someone you love. For starters, try these techniques:
- Let go of the guilt. Meeting the care needs of someone can feel unimpactful, mundane, and simply downright tough. It takes selflessness, which can feel burdening. Yet dreading the day-to-day tasks you’re required to do in no way is a reflection of how you feel towards your loved one. Admit to yourself that your role isn’t easy, and it is okay to wish you could be doing something different.
- Intentionally seek out joy. The small pleasures each day holds might be diminished by the difficulties. Make the effort each morning to identify five small things that make you smile. Keep a journal of each day’s finds and refer back to it at the conclusion of every week. Engage all 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 in your care. Plan and look forward to this time when your caregiving responsibilities begin to weigh you down. An established and dependable care partner is key to make sure nothing impedes with the important time of caring for yourself.
Remind yourself that the work you’re doing in caring for your loved one is extremely important. Yet also remember that nobody can do it all, and in order to provide the best care for your senior loved one as well as for yourself, regular breaks from care tasks are crucial.
Reach out to the Home Sweet Home In-Home Care aging care experts 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 loved one and also to rediscover joy in your own life as well. To learn more about our respite and home care in Mattawan and the surrounding areas, reach out to us today. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page. Give us a call at (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo, (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek.