They Didn’t Tell You Caregiving Would Suck

There is no doubt you will have stress when learning all about caring and supporting an ill or ailing loved one. will have some stress. If you are like many caregivers, this change in your family happened unexpectedly, or at the very least, sooner than expected. And sometimes it sucks.

Or does it?

Beware of getting caught in “all or nothing” kind of thinking.

Caregiving is a drastic change to your lifestyle. Life as you knew it has changed. When it seems you have to give up your dreams and the future is uncertain, it makes sense that the situation is less than desirable, or even fathomable.

It doesn’t mean everything is bad. Unless, of course, you choose to believe it is.

I am a firm believer that you are what you think about. If you think your life sucks, then it will. And it will for as long you hold onto the belief.

Is it easy to tell yourself life isn’t so bad when you are surrounded by piles of dirty laundry, your hair hasn’t been washed in 3 days, and the last balanced meal you had was ½ a cold cheeseburger with tomato and lettuce on it? (Really, it covers 4 major food groups!)

No, it isn’t. Every day there is more and more research from neuroscientists on how what we say to ourselves impacts the experiences we have throughout the day.   I’ve also seen this in my life, and the people in my workshops and coaching practice have told me how their life changed, in only a few days of changing their thoughts.

How can you change your thoughts?

Here are 3 ways you can start to change your thoughts – and your life:

  •  Start paying attention to what you are thinking about. This takes a bit of time to practice and notice. Try stopping once or twice and day and say “what am I thinking about?” Soon you will notice your thoughts on a more regular basis.
  • If you notice a negative thought, you now have the opportunity to replace it with a better feeling thought. Think about a time that you were happy, or think of something coming up in the future that you are looking forward to. It can be as simple as looking forward to putting your head on a comfy pillow at night. Whatever brings a smile to your face – and your heart.
  • Practice affirmations. These are short sentences that help you learn to give yourself positive messages, which leads to changing your thoughts.

There are some guidelines for affirmations:

  1. They should be stated in the positive.
  2. To begin with, choose ones that start with “I am”
  3. Include a feeling word.

Example: I am enjoying boundless energy.

I am happily living in perfect health.

I am excited to be working at a job I love.

It doesn’t matter if you believe the statement or not at the start. The point is to just start saying them, out loud, to yourself. In just a few days you will notice that you are feeling different. In 30 – 40 days you will notice a big difference in how you feel and what you think of yourself and your life.

Does caregiving suck? It depends on what you think, and what you tell yourself.  Here are a couple of other thoughts to affirm to yourself:

I am confident in dealing with whatever comes my way.

I am a loving and caring caregiver.

I am deserving and enjoying own own peace and happiness,

You choose. You are thinking anyway. You may as well think a positive thought!

There is a lot of information on the power of your thoughts and affirmations. You can find it in books, on the internet, and this is a basis of the services I use to help caregivers.

Start with step 1 – pay attention to what you are thinking. That’s all you need to do right now. You’ve got this!

 

 

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