Has this ever happened to you? You’re doing your very best to get everything done on your caregiver list. You’re overwhelmed by your caregiver duties, thinking about what you need to do at work tomorrow, and wondering whether you’ll be able to squeeze your son’s basketball game in. Then, your aging parent starts complaining. Perhaps they aren’t happy with the way you did something, or they want you to add one more thing to your caregiver list. You feel like you’re ready to blow your top and find yourself snapping at your parents.
Minutes later, you regret what you said and wish you had been able to keep your cool. You know what? You’re not alone. The stress of being a caregiver can lead to feelings of frustration and even anger. That’s not unusual, so there’s no need to feel guilty about it. However, there are ways you can prevent yourself from lashing out at your loved one. Below are 4 tips to help you keep your cool.
#1: Walk Away
When you feel ready to blow your top, walk away before you react. Give yourself a moment to cool down and think of a way to respond appropriately. It’s okay for caregivers to express themselves to the person they are caring for. It’s even okay to set limits and say no sometimes. However, getting angry and yelling will only lead to hurt feelings.
#2: Ask for Help
Caregivers who frequently feel frustrated or angry may be suffering from caregiver burnout. Asking others for help can relieve some of the stress and take some of the load off you. Even having family members and friends do some of the small tasks, like making a meal or running to the grocery store, can give you a few minutes rest and cross a task off your list.
#3: Don’t Give Up What You Love
Some of the negative emotions of caregiving occur when caregivers feel trapped and like they’ve given up their own lives. Don’t let that happen to you. Plan time in your week to spend on the things you enjoy. Engage in your hobbies. Continue going out with friends. Spend time with your children.
#4: Use Relaxation Techniques
There are many relaxation techniques that can relieve caregiver stress. You might want to take up practicing yoga or meditating. There are also deep breathing exercises that help to reduce stress. Exercise is another great way to burn off stress. It also helps to keep you healthy, so work a little exercise into each day.