What are your first thoughts as soon as you wake up in the morning? Are you looking forward to what your day holds, or would you like to crawl back beneath the covers and remain there? If you’re feeling more caregiver dread than delight as you consider your responsibilities for the day, you are not the only one.
Distinctly different from anxiety, depression, and even burnout, caregiver dread is a heavy, exhausted sense of duty. It is caused by feelings of overcommitment as well as the need to break free from obligations. While possible to muscle through and carry out required tasks regardless of these feelings, there are ways to conquer them instead – and restore the joy that comes from making life better for someone you love. For starters, try these techniques:
- Release the guilt. Meeting the care needs of someone can feel mundane, unimpactful, and just downright difficult. It takes selflessness, which can feel burdensome. Yet dreading the daily tasks you are obligated to do in no way reflects how you feel about your loved one. Acknowledge to yourself that your role is not easy, and that it is okay to wish you could be doing something different.
- Intentionally look for joy. The tiny pleasures every day holds can be dimmed by the difficulties. Make a point every day to find five little things that make you smile. Keep a journal of every day’s finds and refer back to it at the end of each week. Engage all of your senses while you seek out the day’s joys: the smell of freshly baked cookies; the beauty of the sunrise; the sound of your cat purring; the invigorating feeling of a hot shower.
- Set boundaries. Schedule time every day to spend on activities that you enjoy independent of the senior in your care. Plan and look forward to this time when your care responsibilities start to weigh you down. An established and dependable care partner is vital to make sure nothing interferes with the important time of caring for yourself.
Remind yourself that the work you’re doing in caring for your senior loved one is vitally important. Yet also keep in mind that nobody can do it all, and in order to provide the very best care for the senior and for yourself, regular breaks from care tasks are needed to avoid caregiver dread.
Get in touch with our aging care experts at (907) 677-7890 to schedule regular respite care services and release the burden of caregiving dread. We are here for as much or as little assistance as you need to help you enjoy quality time with your loved one and also to rediscover joy in your own life as well. Contact us for a free in-home consultation, and to learn why we’re the premier provider of Anchorage senior services and care in nearby areas.