Friday, February 28, 2014

Ever wonder if you can care too much??

Caring.com shared a list of things that caregivers can get caught up in. We all know we care about our family, be it caring for elderly parents or a special needs child. Every once in awhile though we can get caught up in their life, making ours take a back seat. Totally understandable but we tend to forget - it is OK for us to have a life, get some of our likes, interests, friends, etc back to enjoy.
Take a look at their list and see how many you answer 'yes' to. Then take some time to carve out for yourself and tell yourself it is all right to have a life separate from those you are taking care of.

1 - You use words like "always" and "never" with regard to caregiving. You always have to be there or do something, no one else can. Watch out for burnout.

2 - Your friends seem to have stopped calling. Maybe you constantly turn down invitations because you feel the need to be by someone's side 24/7. Or maybe your conversations with people always revolve around caregiving duties. Take time with friends to clear your mind, get back to your interests, laugh some, drink some wine and laugh some more.

3 - You have a hard time remembering the last time you were happy. Do you feel overwhelmed? Can't find anything in the day to make you happy or smile about? You need to find something to give you the 'warm & fuzzy' feeling inside.

4 - Everyone assumes you will step forward to help. No one else steps forward because you are the one always doing something. Ask for help; unfortunately people will take advantage of your good nature if you let them. As someone once told me, "don't expect much from people and you won't be disappointed". Caregiving can be overwhelming and people know their lives will change big time so they don't want to get involved. Ask anyway!!

5 - You are overweight or out of shape. You need to take care of yourself first in order to best take care of someone else. Make sure yout eat well, take a walk, get enough sleep (your family member naps, you nap -- just like when there were babies around). When it comes to your well-being, be selfish.

6 - You can't remember the last time you took a vacation. Even if it is overnight somewhere local, take some time away. Have a relative or friend stay with your family member, check into respite services, call some assisted living communities in your area, some may take people in for a weekend while family takes a break. Check into 'short term stays', like this one.

7 - Your conversations always are about caregiving. See # 2. You need to get out!!

8 - You have no hobbies. Maybe it can be something you can do with your family member like baking, knitting, sewing, or scrapbooking (which has wonderful contributions for the elderly parent too), but also allow yourself break time - read a book, see a movie, go shopping. Get the grandchildren to come over and entertain.

9 - You can't sleep through the night. It may be because the elderly parent doesn't sleep and keeps you up. Maybe it is just stress or you are not feeling well. Somehow you need to get some rest. Here again, take a night off, try meditation.

10 - You dread waking up in the morning. If you feel spent and 'heavy hearted' as the article says, you need to get help. No one can be expected to do things all by themselves for a long period of time. "Nobody, not even the most well-intentioned, big-hearted, and selfless among us -- is meant to endure a tough situation all alone, day after day, year after year."

To read the entire post, click here.

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