The emotional side of caregiving is often talked about in glowing terms by caregivers who fear being judged for being honest. Family caregivers tend to talk more about how happy they are to spend time with their senior loved ones than the challenges they face. Being a good caregiver means taking the bad with the good and learning how to find balance. Doing so helps you keep a handle on your emotions so you don’t develop caregiver burnout. Here’s how you can address the emotional side of caregiving.
1. Track Your Emotions in a Journal
With so much happening during your busy days, you might not always realize just how often you encounter stressful emotions. An emotion journal can be as simple as a day calendar where you can jot down a quick note about how you feel. You can also use your smartphone and put in emojis that represent your feelings at different points during the day. After a few days, you may begin to see patterns that let you know where you need to make changes. For instance, you might need to ask for help in the evenings if that’s when you begin to feel angry or resentful.
Family caregivers can address some of the emotional challenges of caregiving by hiring professional in-home care experts. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Anchorage at-home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
2. Phone a Caring Friend
You need to know you’re not alone. Sometimes just talking about what’s bothering you may be helpful for easing painful emotions. Ask your friend if he or she is willing to let you vent for a few minutes, and be ready to let him or her know if you want advice or just need to get your emotions out. You can also simply talk to your friend as a distraction that helps you focus on a different part of your life.
3. Immerse Yourself in a Hobby
Hobbies are an effective way to focus on something other than your stressful circumstances. You’ll also feel a sense of satisfaction from accomplishments that can help you get through a trying time. Pick out a hobby you can work on for an hour or so at a time and enjoy throughout the week. You’ll begin to look forward to your chance to temporarily forget all your troubles.
Family members can reduce some of the emotional, physical, and mental challenges of caregiving by hiring professional caregivers. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
4. Burn Off Fiery Emotions
Pent-up anger, frustration, and resentment can build up to the point where you can hardly think about anything else. Since these emotions trigger your body to release stress hormones, they can also begin to affect how you feel. Exercising burns off these emotions so you begin to feel calmer. Once you’re calm, you can then begin to address the reasons you got so angry in the first place.
5. Accept Conflicting Feelings
As a caregiver, you may also find yourself in situations when you aren’t exactly sure how you feel, or you may feel happy and worried at the same time. For instance, bringing your loved one home from the hospital may offer you a sense of relief, but you might also be anxious about your ability to handle the extra work. Acknowledge the conflict and find solutions for the negative feelings. Having extra help during your loved one’s first days back at home allows you to focus on feeling happy about his or her enhanced health.
6. Schedule Time for Yourself
Everyone needs time to themselves, and you would never expect a full-time employee of a company to skip lunch or go without a day off. Look at your role as a family caregiver as a real job that requires time off. Taking time for yourself allows you to relax, breathe, and remember the good things about being a caregiver.
Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs 24-hour care, Anchorage, AK, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home. Rely on the professionals at Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate home care for your loved one. Give us a call today at (907) 770-0907 to learn about our flexible in-home care plans.