Protecting yourself emotionally as a family caregiver sounds as if it’s selfish, but what it really does is help you to be a much better caregiver.
Make Sure You’re Paying Attention to Your Own Boundaries.
If you don’t have any boundaries, emotionally speaking, then you’re going to experience more than your fair share of situations that feel as if your good nature is being abused. Boundaries are healthy for you to have. Taking the time to sort through what is acceptable and what isn’t so that you have at least a beginning understanding of where your boundaries are.
Acknowledge and Process Your Emotions.
You’re going to experience a wide range of emotions during your time as a caregiver. Many caregivers are reluctant to admit to what they’re feeling and they’re not sure how to process them. The problem is, if you don’t process emotions, they don’t just go away. They become louder if you’re ignoring them. Work with a counselor or therapist that you trust if you are having difficulty processing your emotions on your own.
Learn How to Ask for Help.
Asking for help is not always easy to do. You might need to work on that if you’ve had difficulty with it in the past. Focusing on your loved one’s needs and what can make life easier for both of you allows you to get specific about the help that you need. Start out with small favors and work your way up. By the time you need serious help, you’ll be much better about asking for that help.
Take Care of Yourself as Well as Others.
Neglecting yourself is not going to help your loved one get better care. In fact, it’s going to make caring for your loved one infinitely more difficult for you to do. Save yourself a lot of angst and develop a self-care plan for yourself. Once you have one, follow it and make sure that you’re taking excellent care of yourself so that you can take excellent care of the people that you love.
As you gain more experience in your caregiving journey, you’re going to learn other skills that help you to manage your own emotional health effectively.