Whether you made the choice out of love or it just happened, serving as a caregiver for a person with a disability can be deeply rewarding. It can also be challenging. Caregiving can cause many different emotions, and it’s important to realize that your feelings matter. Self-care is just as important as caregiving.
The Family Caregiver Alliance is a non-profit organization that offers support to families and friends providing long-term care for their loved ones at home. Their article, “Emotional Side of Caregiving,” discusses the feelings that many caregivers may feel. These feelings can be positive, such as feelings of love. There can also be negative feelings, including anxiety or isolation. Every feeling is normal, and the FCA offers coping strategies to deal with the negative feelings that may bubble to the surface.
One of the most important methods of coping is to pay attention to your emotions, whether they are good or bad, and allow yourself to feel them. If you develop feelings of anxiety, the FCA recommends that you “Stop. Breathe. Keep breathing. Pray. Meditate. Make some tea.” Any of these activities are a great way of taking a break from what is happening in that moment.
To deal with feelings of frustration, it is recommended to join a support group. Give yourself a chance to “refresh your energy” and make time for you. Remember to exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. By choosing the right coping methods, you are giving yourself a break from caregiving, which ultimately helps you to become a better caregiver.
Through education, advocacy and services, the FCA strives to improve the quality of life for caregivers. For more information or to view the full article, click here.