Serving as a caregiver for a person with a disability is challenging in many ways. Whether you made the choice or it happened by default, caregiving can cause many different emotions. And no matter what you are feeling, it’s important to realize that your feelings matter. Self-care is just as important as caregiving. The Family Caregiver Alliance is a non-profit organization that offers support to families and friends providing long-term care for their loved ones at home. Their article, “Emotional Side of Caregiving,” discusses the feelings that many caregivers begin to develop over time. These feelings include ambivalence, anger, anxiety, isolation or boredom. Each of these feelings are perfectly normal, and the FCA offers coping strategies to deal with each of them. One of the most important methods of coping is to pay attention to your emotions, whether they are good or bad, and allow yourself to feel them. To address your feelings of anxiety, the FCA recommends that you “Stop. Breathe. Keep breathing. Pray. Meditate. Make some tea.”
Any of these activities are a great way of taking a break from what is happening in that moment. To deal with your feeling of frustration, it is recommended to join a support group. Give yourself a chance to “refresh your energy” and make time for you. Remember to exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. By choosing the right coping methods, you are giving yourself a break from caregiving, which ultimately helps you to become a better caregiver. Through education, advocacy and services, the FCA strives to improve the quality of life for caregivers. For more information or to view the full article, click here.