6 Self-Reminders for Easing Stress

hammock time

Sometimes caregivers are their own worst enemy in the Department of Homeland Insecurity. The things we tell ourselves or expect of ourselves are often the most demanding and stress-inducing of all.

Review the following list of ways you can cut yourself some slack -- and revisit it whenever you feel an "I ought to . . . " or "I should have . . . " nipping around the edges of your guilt and sanity:

  1. I'll apologize when I lose my temper, but I realize that caregiving is so chock-full of temperature-riling situations that eternal calm is impossible.

  2. I'll be there for my loved one, but I'll continue to run my own life at the same time.

  3. I'll let myself grieve and cry and feel sad, instead of trying to keep a chipper smile on my face all the time.

  4. I'll accept or ignore criticism for what it's worth (or not worth) rather than letting it eat at me.

  5. I'll quit blaming myself when bad things happen. Bad things happen.

  6. I resolve to take care of me, not just my loved one. Because eventually I may be the one who needs care, and better it be later than sooner.


about 2 years ago, said...

It's so wonderful to have verification on these feelings from someone who understands. It helps provide relief.


about 2 years ago, said...

Thank you. This is such a hard middle place and it's often easy to think self-care is being selfish.


over 2 years ago, said...

All so true.


over 2 years ago, said...

All seem to apply to me.


about 3 years ago, said...

I am the primary care giver for my mother who has Alzheimer's. My family and I moved into my Mom's home to take care of her. My family helps out, but I'm with her most all the time. My family doesn't think I'm suppose to be upset when Mom does things like pour kitty litter into the washing machine, loose her medicine, insist on "cooking" at meal time and ruins the food. Is it reasonable for me to be upset? Also, this article says that "I will run my own life." My husband and I had this discussion recently. My mother runs our lives. My husband disagrees, but I don't see it. Everything we do revolves around her care.


over 3 years ago, said...

Great advice thank you. I have a question though: how does a daughter keep from feeling guilty when her elderly parents are bored all the time? My mother refuses to go anywhere and my father, who is not disabled, is quickly on the mental decline, because he never did anything without her. When my mother says she is bored and I make suggestions she just shrugs. I visit once a week (they have a caregiver) and have them up for dinner every other week. I have taken my father out for a meal but other than that he only goes to the store and home. Unfortunately, his friends have all passed away. Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks so much, Eileen


over 3 years ago, said...

I just got back from my 60th high school reunion -- and my kids took care of my husband for the evening! A friend from church will cover the brunch tomorrow -- It's as good as a vacation, and I don't feel a bit guilty!


over 3 years ago, said...

It reminded me of the obvious in an accessible way


over 3 years ago, said...

Reminding me I need a life of my own as well as being a caregiver. I found myself becoming angry at my wife and needed more relief by putting her in an Alzheimer's facility.


over 3 years ago, said...

We all beat ourselves up for those things "we should have done", which in hind sight may not have changed the ultimate outcome of a situation. I had a father who died of lung cancer, though he was living at a nursing/rehab home and the last month of his life in hospice. I was with him every day for the last years of his life and was powerless to alter or change the outcome of his end-stage disease, though I talked to him about this and how it caused me heartache. Even in hospice, there were words I wished I had said when he was alive, though he could not response with a reply. After he died and during my grieving, I found "those" words and offered them to my "father's spirit" in the hopes that he could hear... In Buddhism, we learn that each of us has his own unique life experience that we have chosen on a "soul level". As loved ones, we are not necessarily allowed to alter the outcome or intervene with the process, though we do our best to provide comfort, suggestion and the tools that person needs to make an informed decision. Of course, we do not just stand by and watch our loved one falter, but we have to know our own limitations (i.e. aswhen a person is dying and allowing them to die with dignity (on their terms). I hope my words have some relevance to the above article.


over 3 years ago, said...

I am the caregivee, not caregiver, but I have learned a few things. Everyone needs to be able to express their stuff but we are all afraid to. Afraid to 'be gone', to 'explode', to 'release command & control', to 'say the wrong thing' etc. I think if everyone took a tablet and some markers or even crayons and sat by themselves for a little while we could all benefit greatly. Scribble a black circle, fill it in w/ red. Tear it up. Draw a heart any way you want, any colors you like. Make some circles, flowers. Some little lines, grass. Express yourself and you just might surprise yourself!! Drawing circles is very relaxing- the movement is calming. Go from round to oval to lopsided to anything or anywhere.


over 3 years ago, said...

I am on vacation and I find myself finally unwind after three days. Then I got a phone call from home and now that I am down to two days left, I feel myself shutting down again. The emotional rollercoaster is killing me.


over 3 years ago, said...

That I have to get away some and take care of me ,


over 3 years ago, said...

Knowing it ok to take care of me.


over 3 years ago, said...

Great list, Paula, I try be mindful of these things already, but I am going to post your list in a conspicuous place. I am my husband's sole caregiver, also the bill payer, housekeeper, etc. The adult kids are conspicuous by their absence. I try to take care of myself because if I go down, the entire structure of our life will crumble and fall. That doesn't make me feel important, just scared.


about 4 years ago, said...

The self reminder's on how to reduce stress.


over 4 years ago, said...

I liked the idea of "Homeland Insecurity" and that it doesn't matter that we don't know what's round the corner and that it's OK to hold things more loosely and not try to race about covering all aspects of care. It's OK to stand back and take care of ourselves too. Sometimes it gets too overwhelming and then it's no good running on empty. If friends and family don't quite understand the strain and stress that's OK too.


over 4 years ago, said...

Reminded me that this is life - - for better or worse. I can choose to be happy or choose to sulk. I choose happy!


over 4 years ago, said...

I try to write to myself about the situations to relieve some of the stress and forgive myself if I feel I .haven't acted appropriately. I have often said I feel like crying...but then I remember it only gives me a headache.


over 4 years ago, said...

Facing a host of difficult decisions this morning, due in art to my own aging challenges. The "Taking care of me" part always need reinforcing!!


over 4 years ago, said...

Every item on the list was to help me take care of myself, especially the one about letting oneself grieve and cry and feel sad, instead of trying to keep a chipper smile on my face all the time, which is what I have been trying to do. Caregivers often forget about their own health in their concern to make their loved one's life as calm and as pleasant as possible, plus not stressing out the children any more than they already are.


over 4 years ago, said...

All caregivers should print out this as a reminder and keep it in a place we can read it every day. To all of you have a geat day.


over 4 years ago, said...

Thanks we need to be reminded that we are human and no super human.


almost 5 years ago, said...

Everything in the article is helpful. Care givers need to read and reread this article and then follow it.


almost 5 years ago, said...

Thanks to All the other Caregivers who take out time from their lives or their Lives to Help take care of their Family Members. I know My Mom is Grateful that I am here helping Her. She tells Me all the time & She tells Me She is Sorry. I ask why she says that & She says it' s not Fair to Me but I would Not have it any other Way.