Do You Get Frustrated as a Family Caregiver and then Feel Awful?
September 6, 2016
Caregiver in Redwood City CA
You're not alone. Whether you're frustrated that your loved one won't change her lifestyle to improve her health or you're angry that other people aren't pitching in more, these emotions are common for family caregivers.Emotions Are Just EmotionsAs human beings, we tend to place a lot of weight and judgment on emotions. Some are good, some are bad, and sometimes we pass those judgments on to the people who are feeling the emotions. You're going to have days when you feel frustrated or angry. The big question is whether you're feeling those emotions periodically as the situation warrants or are you feeling that way all the time? The latter could mean that you're dealing with caregiver stress.Don't Bury Your FeelingsWhen you bury your feelings, especially the ones you view as negative, and deny yourself the right to have and to feel those emotions, they don't go away. They stick around and they can often become louder so that you can't deny them anymore. Denying your emotions can lead to health problems and it can make you ineffective as a caregiver.Find a Safe Outlet that Works for YouSo what can you do? The first thing to do is to accept the feeling and acknowledge it. Then you can work through it rather than shoving it aside. Some people find that exercise or journaling can help them to work through their feelings. Others find relief from meditation, self-care, or even through counseling or therapy. If you have a friend that you trust, you can vent to that person without fear of judgment. Start figuring out what works for you to help you get through your emotions without burying them or judging yourself harshly.Take Time Away RegularlyIf you're not already making time for yourself, it's time to do just that. You need time and space in order to make sure that you're happy and healthy when your elderly loved one needs you. It's understandable that you might not see an easy way right now to do this, so start working with other family members to set up coverage for when you're away. You may also want to hire elderly care providers for backup care.
Once you can accept your feelings, it's easier to work through them.