How to Be Mentally Strong When Taking Care of a Loved One
Caring for a loved one such as your parents, partner or friend is indeed a rewarding task but sometimes, it takes a heavy toll on your mental health. Depending on the extent of their illness, at times you might feel overworked and inadequate. The one thing you need to remember during these difficult and trying times is that you are not alone. Some professionals can help you deal with the depression you might fall into.
The title “caregiver” does not come with a description. You have to do as much as you can and for as long as you can. Day after day, you juggle roles between a companion, nurse, chef, advocate, chauffeur, and more. Not only do you have to be physically strong but mentally so that you can be your soundboard. You might go through several emotions such as fear, boredom, depression, anger, anxiety, guilt, loneliness, and jealousy. To be able to bounce back the next morning is the kind of strength you need to muster from within and we will tell you how.
1. Set Boundaries
There’s a limit to everything, and when you stretch yourself thin, you start to resent your life. Setting boundaries is not about your loved one but for you. Do not take all the tasks on yourself. If you feel uncomfortable doing something or think that it won’t fit into your schedule, say “no” and find another way.
2. Seek Support
We are not talking about an extra set of hands for taking care of your loved one. A great stress management technique for caregivers is to join a support group. The people in it and their stories will provide you with an emotional connection you can rely on, and you will get to learn new things about how to give better care.
3. Find an Outlet
It might feel like you will have to give up your passions and hobbies as a caregiver but never make this mistake. You need a source of motivation that will keep you happy and content, and that is doing what you love. So, set aside a day to enjoy what you like, whether it’s a jog in the park, a hike, or playing video games.
4. Follow Your Faith
It might seem that God is not fair by taking away your loved one, but this way of thinking can put you in a dark place. Make acceptance a part of your journey, and say a little prayer every night. Make reaffirmations for yourself and your loved one such as:
“I am strong. I can handle this.”
“May God give the people I cherish a happy life. Amen”
5. Celebrate Small Victories
A cure is not the only thing that your loved one requires. When there’s no hope, celebrate small victories. Every time your loved one does something on their own, applaud their efforts and encourage them to aim for more. The satisfaction of making them feel safe and secure is a feeling that will warm your heart.
Remember ― your loved one needs your attention and care, and if you are not at your 100%, you won’t be able to give them what they need and desire. You can only achieve fulfillment when you are at your best. Remember, you can handle everything by conquering fear.