Family caregiving is not for the faint of heart. On a good day it can involve injections, meal preparation, feeding, and dressing. On a bad day it can mean trips to the emergency room, not having home care show up, serious reactions to medication and anger and frustration thrown your way from your loved one.
It’s a lot to handle. And you do it anyway.
What do you do when it gets too much, when you feel like you just can’t take it anymore?
It’s not if, it’s when, you are going to feel that way. When it happens, you might want to grab your shoes and coat and run away. I did that once. Well, I didn’t run away. I did go for a drive. I couldn’t stay in that room one second more with my husband yelling at me about my poor attitude. I was doing my best, I really was. I’d hit my tipping point when I had a run-in with my boss, had been working late putting together a funding proposal, trying to keep up with all the medical appointments and treatment schedules, and cope with the worry and fear about my husband dying. It got to me, it really got to me. And then he had the nerve to say I had a bad attitude.
I had to get out of there before I said or did something I would really regret. So I drove to the Toys R Us and bought a playpen for soon-to-be-born grandchild. I cried all the way there, and all the way home. There had to be better ways to cope than running away.
Since then I’ve learned a lot in my own personal development, and even more from the caregivers I’ve helped. Here are what I consider the Top 5 Tips for Getting Through a Difficult Day.
Many caregivers have found it both helpful and cathartic to write. Some write about how they are feeling so they can get it out of their system. Some will write whatever comes to mind, or even write a fiction story. There are many caregiver blogs – it is healing.
I rave about the healing nature of music and believe it’s the answer to just about problem. When you are really frantic and worried, listening to some calming, spa-like music will help. If you are angry and frustrating some loud rock might get you rid of the energy building up. There’s nothing like a sad country song to help you cry. Tears heal. Don’t be afraid of them.
Talking it Out
That saying “phone a friend” rings true here. Sometimes you need that shoulder to cry on – or at least vent. You will want to have someone with a good listening ear to help you through some of these difficult days. It helps you release a lot of pent up energy, and they might offer some comforting words. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Pound the pillow
There is nothing like having a good, safe, scream and pounding session. First make sure you aren’t going to alarm anyone with the noice they may here. Find your safe place, grab a pillow, and pound and yell as much as you can, for as long as you can. A lot of times it’s the energy raging through our body that keeps us in such a stressed state. There is a lot of emotion released in one of these sessions. You will likely feel both physically and emotionally exhausted. That is fine. You will also find your mind to be clearer and you will be able to continue with what needs to be done. Be sure to get some rest and drink lots of water.
I’ve saved the best for last. I believe moving into a state of gratitude is the quickest and most effective way to deal with a difficult day. Don’t confuse this with patronizing or magical “positive thinking..” I’m talking about true, heartfelt gratitude. Take a moment to pretend “breathe” in and out of your heart, and draw to your mind something that your are really grateful for. Something, or someone, that makes your heart sing. For me, it’s my two grandsons. When you have that feeling in your heart, write down 3 – 5 that you are grateful for. That should help you feel more calm and grounded.
I hope you don’t experience many of those really difficult days. When you do, try one or more of these tips.
These don’t work for you? Leave a comment and let me know what you do when you feel like running away from it all. I appreciate learning more tips to share with the caregivers I help.
There is always something to learn about family caregiving and how we can get through this journey with peace, grace and knowing we’ve done out best.
There is a wonderful event that is coming to you – wherever you are when you are onine. It’s Today’s Caregiver, a Virtual Summit and it starts November 14th. There are 14 speakers covering many key things you want to know. You can even watch this in your pyjamas! Yay!
Don’t miss this great opportunity to discover new things and get free gifts.
Sign up here: Today’s Caregiver – A Virtual Summit