When it comes to helping the injured or the elderly, caregivers are the real heroes. No matter whether they are following their call, or willingly taking care of their relative – a caregiver’s task isn’t easy. Providing both mental and physical support all day and night takes a lot out of them. That’s why it’s important to realize the negative side of this noble commitment. Sooner or later, all caregivers are experiencing negative emotions, but they must learn to deal with them, otherwise this negativity will sap their joy and energy, effectively poisoning their mood.
Learning to Accept Your Weaknesses
In case you are a caregiver, you don’t need be afraid admitting you have troubling feelings. Most people find it very difficult to express their emotions, because they feel their duty simply doesn’t allow it. Caregivers are seen in the eye of society as shining guardians, but the truth is, facing your inner demons on your own only wears you down even more. Not paying attention to or burying your luggage is very dangerous, because it leads to stress, poor sleeping, eating disorder, illness or even substance abuse. There are various ways you can relieve yourself, or express it in a way that won’t disturb your caregiving duty.
It’s very important to understand that you need to rely on others as well, and find someone who listens to your problems. A good friend is worth a thousand psychiatrists! And don’t put too much strain on yourself, and rather try to balance the tasks at hand.
To deal with the negative emotions, first you need to recognize them. Ambivalence, anger, crankiness, embarrassment, fear, guilt, tiredness or lack of appreciation: these are common emotions one must go through while taking care of someone. First, everything starts out nice and good. Your determination drives you, while feeling rewarded by your own conscience for doing something good. But as time goes on, the initial commitment drains out. You start to feel tired because of all the hard work and attention you give to your care receiver.
You also need to endure their behavior – like fits of anger, constant demands – and cope with an awkward situation. In these cases, it’s very important to learn to let go of your frustration, and move on. Crankiness is a contagious thing; lots of caregiver catch it from their patients. When you feel irritated, and you are afraid of saying something improper, then it’s the sign that you need a swift break. Or make a joke, it often raises the spirit.
Fear and guilt are two siblings, who walk in each other’s footsteps. Don’t start asking yourself the “What if” questions. “What if I didn’t give it my all?” “What if I did something wrong?” These questions only raise fear and uneasiness. Have faith in yourself, and be confident. And never blame yourself too much because of guilt. And last of all: the lack of appreciation. Everyone likes to feel rewarded and receive appreciation from their community, even if they do their duty for free. As a hard day follows another, the small bit of appreciation becomes even more important for a tired soul. So make sure you have someone you can talk to, a shoulder to cry on. Because caregivers are people too.
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