Caregiving: Give Yourself Some Credit – You Deserve It!

I was reading an article recently on diabetes by a Certified Diabetic Educator and it occurred to me that the concepts she was suggesting to diabetics were also great concepts for caregivers.

As a caregiver, you may tend to experience frustration and guilt. No matter how much you do for your loved one or your patient sometimes you may feel that you could have always done more or better. These feelings can cause you to have negative thoughts about yourself and add to the stress of caregiving. Some days you may even be thinking, “I am not adequate enough for this task anymore” but these destructive beliefs about yourself only make your job more difficult.

So here are some ideas to help you feel better about yourself and your efforts to provide care.

  1. Focus on what you did right every day, not what you did wrong.
    • At the end of the day jot down all you learned. Include things that worked out well. Document what you tried and how it worked out successfully.
    • If at times, you didn’t quite get the outcome you were looking for, write down what got in the way and how you might do things differently next time.
    • You may feel it’s an unnecessary exercise to put this all in writing but just think what you might feel like after reading back over a week’s worth of positive notes and findings about your caregiving.
  2. Focus on tomorrow.
    • Guilt and bad feelings is about what you did or didn’t do in the past. You know you can’t change what already happened so don’t waste time worrying about it. Think about the fresh start you have in a new day.
    • As you are journaling about your successes, it may also help to write down a list of things you need to work on and pick ONE thing to focus on each new day. It can get very overwhelming trying to do too much at one time.
    • A good place to start is with one of your biggest struggle. You may feel the most accomplishment this way but again don’t try to do it all at once! Write down your goals and take a step towards conquering this struggle every few days.
  3. Feel good about yourself and your efforts.
    • Find someone who can cheer you on and let you know what a good job you are doing. Call a friend or family member who knows and appreciates all you do.
    • There are online and local caregiver support groups, which can be helpful at letting you know you are not alone in this endeavor. These groups can often provide you with supportive ideas and experiences.
    • Take time to reward yourself with a break by obtaining care giving help. Everyone needs to have some time to relax and rejuvenate.
    • Also, remember to congratulate yourself for all the effort you make. Caregiving is hard work! Give yourself some credit for a job well done. You deserve it!

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