Wednesday Wednesday – The 7 Deadly Emotions of Caregiving
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Workshop.
Caregiver Deadly Emotion #1: Guilt
Guilt is virtually unavoidable as you try to “do it all.” Caregiver guilt is an especially corrosive emotion because you’re beating yourself up over faults that are imagined, unavoidable — or simply human. That’s counterproductive at a time when you need to be your own best advocate.
What you can do: Lower your standards from ideal to real; aim for a B+ in the many aspects of your life rather than an across-the-board A+.
Caregiver Deadly Emotion #2: Resentment
Caregiver resentment is especially felt toward the person being cared for, when the caregiver’s life feels hijacked by responsibility and out of his or her own control. Without enough support or non-caregiving outlets, feelings of being ignored, abandoned, or criticized can fester into anger and depression.
What you can do: Try venting to a journal or anonymous blog. Know that resentment is a very natural and common response to long-term caregiving.
Caregiver Deadly Emotion #3: Anger
Some people outwardly show their anger more than others. Anger that builds up unexpressed can lead to depression or anxiety, while anger that explodes outward can jeopardize relationships and even harm others.
What you can do: Rather than trying to avoid anger, learn to express it in healthy ways. Simple deep-breathing exercises can channel anger into a calmer state.
Caregiver Deadly Emotion #4: Worry
Being concerned is harmless. Overworry and obsessing, however, can disrupt sleep, cause headaches and stomach aches, and lead to mindless eating or undereating.
What you can do: If you notice worrying thoughts interfering with getting through the day or sleeping at night, force a break to the cycle. Try setting a timer and resolving to focus on something else when the five minutes is up.
Caregiver Deadly Emotion #5: Loneliness
Your world can shrink almost before you realize what’s happened.
Loneliness seems to curb willpower and the ability to persevere, and it can lead to overeating, smoking, and overuse of alcohol.
What you can do: Expand your social circles, real and virtual. Arrange respite help, so you can add at least one outside activity to your routine. Take the initiative to reach out to old friends and invite them over or consider joining a support group related to caregiving or your loved one’s illness.
Caregiver Deadly Emotion #6: Grief
Don’t think this one applies yet? Think again. “Long good-byes” can trigger guilt and sadness. Also, mourning the loss of a beloved companion is a risk factor for depression.
What you can do: Know that your feelings are normal. Allow yourself to feel sadness and express it to your loved one as well as to supportive friends and family members.
Caregiver Deadly Emotion #7: Defensiveness
Protecting yourself is good — to a point. While nobody knows your loved one and your situation as well as you do, being overly defensive can make you closed-minded. You risk losing out on real help.
What you can do: Try not to take everything you hear personally. Instead of immediately getting upset or discarding others’ input, vow to pause long enough to consider it. Remember the big picture.
To speak with us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
Feel free to call us at (877) 760-9199. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!