April 26, 2021
What are your first thoughts as soon as you wake up each morning? Are you looking forward to what the day will bring, or would you like to crawl back underneath the covers and remain there? If you are feeling more dread than delight when you think through your caregiving tasks for the day, you are not the only one.
Distinctly different from depression, anxiety, and even burnout, caregiver dread is an exhausted, heavy sense of duty. It stems from feelings of overcommitment as well as the desire to get away from obligations. While feasible to push through and carry out necessary tasks in spite of these feelings, there are ways to conquer them instead – and regain the joy which comes from making life better for someone you love. For starters, try these caregiving tips:
- Release the guilt. Meeting the care needs of a person can feel mundane, unimpactful, and simply downright tough. It takes selflessness, which can feel burdening. Yet dreading the daily tasks you’re obligated to do by no means is a reflection of the way you feel about your family member. Acknowledge to yourself that your role isn’t easy, and that it’s okay to wish you could be doing something different.
- Purposely look for joy. The small pleasures every day holds may be dimmed by the difficulties. Make a point every morning to identify five small things that make you smile. Keep a journal of each day’s finds and refer back to it at the end of each week. Engage all of your senses as you seek out the day’s joys: the smell of freshly baked cookies; the beauty of the sunset; the sound of your cat purring; the invigorating feeling of a hot shower.
- Set boundaries. Designate time every day to devote to pursuits that you enjoy independent of the older adult in your care. Plan and look forward to this time when your care responsibilities start to weigh you down. A trustworthy care partner is paramount to ensure that nothing interferes with the important time of taking care of yourself.
Remind yourself that the work you’re doing in caring for a senior loved one is vitally important. Yet also remember that no one can do it all, and in order to provide the best care for the senior and for yourself, frequent breaks from care tasks are essential.
Our care team is here for as much or as little assistance as you need to help you enjoy quality time along with a family member and also to rediscover joy in your own life as well. Call our aging care experts at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336 to schedule regular care services and discover how we provide the kind of senior home care St. Louis and other nearby areas choose first. For more information on all of the areas we serve in St. Louis and St. Charles counties, please visit our Service Area page.