What are your first thoughts when you wake up each morning? Are you looking forward to what your day holds, or would you like to crawl back beneath the covers and stay there? If you’re feeling more dread than delight when you think through your caregiving tasks for the day, you are not the only one. Caregiver burnout and dread affects countless family caregivers across the country.
Distinctly different from anxiety, depression, and even burnout, caregiver dread is a heavy, exhausted sense of duty. It comes from feelings of over-commitment and the need to escape from responsibilities. While feasible to muscle through and carry out necessary tasks regardless of these feelings, there are ways to conquer them instead – and regain 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 unimpactful, mundane, and simply downright hard. It takes selflessness, which can feel burdening. Yet dreading the day-to-day tasks you are obligated to do in no way is a reflection of the way you feel about your family member. Admit to yourself that your role is not easy, and therefore it is ok to wish you could be doing something else.
- Purposely seek out joy. The small pleasures every day holds can be dimmed by the difficulties. Make a point every morning to identify five small things that make you smile. Keep a diary of each day’s finds and refer back to it at the end of every week. Engage all your senses while you search for the day’s joys: the smell of freshly brewed coffee; the beauty of the sunset; the sound of your kitten purring; the invigorating feeling of a hot shower.
- Set boundaries. Schedule time each day to spend on things that you enjoy apart from the senior loved one in your care. Plan and look forward to this time when your caregiving tasks begin 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 extremely important. Yet also keep in mind that no one 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 crucial. Caregiver burnout harms not only you but the senior in your care, so take steps to prevent it before it sets in.
Connect with our aging care experts at 213-383-2273 to schedule regular respite care services and release the stress of caregiving dread. With our elder care in Los Angeles and nearby areas, we’re here for as much or as little assistance as you need to help you enjoy quality time with a family member and to rediscover joy in your own life as well. Contact us today to learn why we’re the top provider of dementia home care as well as many other senior care services.