Is your “to-do” list never ending? Do you, as a caregiver, feel continual stress and guilt because you never get to the bottom of your list?
It goes something like this: I must get groceries for mom today. I really don’t have time today, but she needs healthy food in the house. I should rearrange my schedule to make this happen. Can I be at three places at one time? She is counting on me. Why am I so unorganized? What is wrong with me?!
This “do it all” attitude virtually makes stress and the accompanying guilt for not getting it all done simply unavoidable. You’re suddenly burdening yourself with a list of "must do” and “should do,” all overseen by the toughest critic — yourself.
Are you putting too much pressure on yourself as a caregiver?
As a caregiver, this cycle of stress and guilt can put you at risk for:
Resentment. You may feel this toward other family members who are not able or don’t provide enough help, and/or you may even begin to feel this toward your loved one. By addressing your feelings now, you can prevent a buildup of resentment leading to negative reactions and decisions.
Anger. Everybody gets angry at some point. But when you add in too much responsibility, lack of sleep, stress and guilt, you could become a walking ball of anger. This can lead to high blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease, digestive issues, headaches, anxiety, and a very high risk of jeopardizing existing relationships.
Defensiveness. When you're doing too much, it's only natural to bristle at suggestions that there may be a better way. Ask yourself: Have I shut out help that is nearby waiting? Is my current situation even what my parent really wants? Have I gotten too close to the situation to see what is really going on?
Loneliness. You no longer have time for the hobbies you once loved nor for spending time with friends. You may even find friends backing away from you as they feel the negative emotions you are carrying around. This is definitely a sign that you need to place yourself higher on your priority list.
Depression. Nobody wants to get to the point of hitting rock bottom. As a caregiver, it’s easy to do as you’re likely sacrificing your own physical, emotional and social needs to give everything you have to provide the best care possible for your loved one.
When you hit this point, what quality of care are you providing?
If your never-ending to-do list only continues to grow, now is the time to find a solution. Begin by acknowledging that a change needs to be made. Take time to find a solution that works for you and your loved one. That’s what your loved one and family deserves; that’s what you truly deserve.