The Caregiving Blues
The Caregiving Blues
There are many thoughts, feelings and worries in the caregiving landscape. Some of the most challenging are what I call the caregiving blues.
There were many mornings that I woke up feeling sad and anxious and almost defeated before my feet even touched the ground.
The worst part about these feelings for me was that fact that I felt guilty about them.
It was bad enough that I felt overwhelmed and sad but on top of that I felt that there was something wrong with me because I felt this way.
Please take heart. The caregiving blues are just a normal side effect of caregiving. There are so many factors effecting our state of mind and heart and exhaustion alone can trigger these blues.
Rather that beating myself up for feeling a little down and defeated, I soon learned that if I gave myself permission to feel this way and acknowledge that my feelings were perfectly normal and appropriate I could then give myself a break. I would try to find ways to soothe, console and take extra good care of myself until I was feeling a bit better and renewed.
These blues actually became a blessing because they brought to my attention that I probably needed a break and what I call some radical self care. This included talking to family, friends and a therapist, arranging for someone to take over for me for a day or afternoon so I could get away for a short break, finding a support group, treating myself to a nap, a manicure, a good nights sleep and anything that made me feel good about myself. (Check out this helpful link http://www.thecarecenters.com/ar/top-ten-signs-that-assisted-living-may-be-needed)
I also made sure I spoke to my family doctor and therapist about any lingering feelings of depression or sadness just to make sure there were no underlying issues building up.
In general I learned to cope with my caregiving blues by accepting that they were part of the territory and I was just feeling the normal sadness that every caregiving feels for a variety of reasons. (Check out this great article http://www.thecarecenters.com/ar/benefits-of-adult-day-care-services)
It didn't make me a bad caregiver or person nor was I doing a bad job. I was just feeling a legitimate sadness which would pass and I deserved to take good care of myself until it did. I would be as patient with myself as I was with my parents when they felt sad.
So when those caregiver blues hit you, allow yourself to feel those feelings without guilt or shame. Know that your feelings are normal and an indicator that you need to practice radical self care and love. You deserve it.