Have you ever been struck by waves of guilt when you're on a rare outing with family and friends, away from the responsibilities of caregiving?
Here are three common things caregivers say that feed that guilt:
- "This is wrong!"
Feeling guilty for enjoying yourself isn't a sign that you shouldn't be doing so; rather, it's a sign of how well-intentioned you are and how much you care.
- "What if something goes wrong?"
In fact, anything might go wrong; that's what happens in life. Things could go wrong even if you were at home.
- "What if I'm needed?"
You might be -- after all, you're needed 24/7, which is why you're getting away! Trust that those standing in for you can handle anything, maybe not the same way you would, or as well -- but competently. That's good enough, for a short time.
Recognize guilt for what it is. Name it. And remind yourself that, like the stress of being "on" all the rest of the time, it's a perfectly normal side effect of a strange phase of life.