The Emotions of Caregiving
Caregiving is a role that many people are not prepared to take on. Many people begin taking care of their aging parents and learn as they go. Nothing prepares them for the difficult emotions and fears that inevitably arise, causing confusion, stress, and exhaustion. Today’s blog will talk about the common emotions family caregivers experience during their role as a family caregiver. We hope that you learn that these experiences are not isolated but felt by many caregivers across the country. The good news is that resources are out there to help you manage these emotions in a healthy way.
Below are the common experiences and emotions felt by many caregivers:
Anxiety: This is often a stress response that comes when we are uncertain of the future or feel that we do not have control. While the “fight or flight” response is useful to get out of dangerous situations, it can sometimes come when we are feeling anxious about something in our daily lives. Anxiety can look like a lot of things. It can cause impaired concentration, tiredness, uncontrollable thoughts, a fast heartbeat, and emotional outbursts. Often anxiety can look nasty for others on the outside, but the person experiencing it may not intend to do harm. Common techniques to help manage anxiety include mindfulness practices like breathing in for four seconds and out for four seconds, keeping count and staying focused on breathing. Anxiety is a difficult emotion to manage, and it can be very helpful to talk to a counselor about this if it starts impairing your daily life.
Guilt: Guilt is one of those emotions that weigh you down because you might feel you are not doing enough for your loved one. Or you might feel guilt if you developed anger or resentment towards your loved one. We are here to let you know that this is very common. To help reduce feelings of guilt, speak to a trusted friend or a counselor to discuss where the guilt is coming from. If you find that you need a break from caregiving, then this is the opportunity to reach out to nurse registries or other family members to step in. Sometimes family caregivers are just too overburdened, and feelings of anger, resentment, or stress can turn into guilt.
Sadness: This comes naturally from seeing someone you love live with a serious health condition. Sadness can also come from the other emotions described in this blog. Many times, high stress, not getting enough sleep, and high anxiety levels can cause feelings of sadness or depression. It is important to stay connected to friends and family, as well as prioritizing your self-care routine, whether it is exercising, gardening, going for walks, and so on. Speaking to a mental health professional is also important if the sadness or depression does not go away.
Anger: Anger results from confusion and feeling lost. You might be asking yourself “Why did this happen to my family?” or some version of this question. Unfortunately, we may never find that answer. Instead, we should focus on adapting to the new situation as best we can, asking for help when we need it.
If you are a family caregiver experiencing any of these common emotions, then please reach out to ElderCare at Home as we are equipped to help you in your moment of need. Call us at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.