How To Manage Your Emotions While Caregiving

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Anger. Guilt. Anxiety. Frustration. Sadness. Are these emotions synonymous with the roller coaster you’ve ridden during your caregiving journey? If so, you’re certainly not in the minority. It’s normal and common to endure such strong feelings during this overwhelming and demanding, yet rewarding, period of your life. So what are some scenarios that may evoke these negative feelings?

  • The caregiving journey wasn’t my choice. I was forced into these responsibilities.

  • It would be so much easier if my life were back to normal and I didn’t have to worry about someone else’s suffering anymore.

  • What’s going to happen today? Why are my loved one’s behavior and mood so unpredictable?

  • My aging parent had an accident and I’m frustrated and angered by his or her lack of ability to predict or prevent it.

  • I feel so sorry for my loved one. It’s not fair that this had to happen.

But how do you actually manage these emotions? Here are three useful tips to embrace when negative energy has gotten the best of you:

  1. Ignorance is Bliss: ...until it isn’t. The more you try to suppress your feelings, the stronger they’ll continue to make their presence known. When you try to bury your feelings, they often manifest more aggressively than they would have than if you’d just taken the time to acknowledge and deal with them. For example, when you try to suppress anger, you may have more intense outbursts, a shorter fuse, and a complete lack of patience for your responsibilities at hand. Or even worse, you may turn toward unhealthy outlets like alcohol or nicotine to provide what you anticipate to be stress relief, but what may actually make your reality even more difficult.

  2. Release your Guilt: The feelings that you’re harboring are feelings held onto by many caregivers. You need to allow yourself to let go of your guilt and to not harp on your negative feelings. Perseverating on the darkness can lead to sleeping and diet issues; so in short, identify your feelings so that you can face them head on. Guilt is a common part of the emotionally charged caregiver cycle and should be acknowledged and accepted in order to move forward and find the positivity in your journey on a daily basis.

  3. Practice Self Care: Perhaps the best way that you can manage these trying emotions is by making time for yourself. Whether it’s reading a book, meditating, getting a massage, joining an online support community, writing in a journal or a multitude of other activities that can offer some stress relief, you need to allow yourself to indulge in alone time.

What are some techniques that you’ve used to acknowledge, embrace & handle challenging emotions?

CareZare is a FREE app for family caregivers to help them manage their care team and ensure the highest level of care for their loved one.

Logan Wells