Fight negative or unrealistic thinking.
Your attitude can be the biggest barrier to taking care of yourself and doing the best job for your loved one.
Being realistic and thinking positive are easier if you:
- Take ownership of your role as a caregiver. "I am a caregiver. It's a tough job, but I can do it."
- Pace yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Seek sustenance and help along the way.
- Admit your feelings, whether they are sorrow, anger, resentment or fear. Get help if you can't control them.
- Admit that you cannot control the impact of the disease on your loved one.
- Admit you need help with caregiving. Seek help and ask for specific things.
- Listen to your body and respond. When it needs food, exercise, rest or medical attention, make sure to give it what it needs.
- Learn the signs of chronic depression and get treatment. A weekly visit to a counselor can ease immense amounts of stress.
- Organize your resources to allow time for your personal life. Keep living.
- Communicate with other caregivers. They'll understand what you're going through and offer comfort and help.
- Stay connected with the outside world, even if it has to be online. Don't get isolated.
- Insist on getting respite care (outside help to care for your loved one for periods of time), even when your loved one resists the idea.
- Teach your mind to think in positive terms.
- Stick to the present. Do what you have to do today. Tomorrow will be here soon enough. You can plan for the future but you can't worry it into submission.
- Get enough sleep. It's easier if you avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and heavy meals near bedtime and try to take a hot bath before going to sleep.
"This content was last reviewed on 12/28/11."