As a caregiver, you've got a lot of responsibilities on your plate. Even after you find your senior parent or loved one the perfect assisted living home, you may continue to struggle with stress and concerns. If you're feeling burnt out or overwhelmed by worries, you're not alone – plenty of people deal with difficult emotions when supporting an elderly relative.
Start taking control of your caregiver anxiety with these simple yet effective steps:
Let go of what is outside your control
A sense of powerlessness is the source of many stressors that come with being a caregiver. The unpredictability of aging means that physical ailments, mental health conditions, and other problems can arise at any time, and there's little you can do to prevent them. Instead of devoting energy to worrying about the factors beyond your control, let go by acknowledging that many things are simply unavoidable, and channel your time and resources into things you may actually be able to impact.
Find a support group
When you're navigating through a difficult time, it can be immensely beneficial to talk to others who are going through similar situations. Consider joining a caregiver support group, where you can spend time among people experiencing the same emotions as you. Not only can you vent in a safe space, but you may forge bonds with new friends and discover helpful tips for coping with caregiver stress. If you aren't able to find an in-person meet-up in your area, consider starting your own or joining a digital group online.
Carve out time for self-care
When your life revolves around caring for others, creating space to take care of yourself can be a major challenge. Neglecting your own needs and desires, however, won't make you a better caregiver – if anything, it'll only exacerbate your exhaustion and anxiety. No matter what else is on your plate, be sure to pencil in some time for activities and tasks that contribute to your strength and wellness. Whether this means starting the day with a meditation practice, getting a manicure once per week, or allowing yourself a few hours to watch the big game, it's vital that you continue doing things that benefit your body and soul.