Being a family caregiver is not easy. You do your best to help your loved one, but you also have other things on your shoulders. In the end, you feel guilty because you can’t help them more, or you even blame yourself for their condition. You may feel anxious when going on vacation or guilty about not being able to be a regular caregiver. These emotions won’t do any good, and you will soon end up being stressed and suffering from caregiver burnout. Therefore, it is essential to help yourself first, so you are able to help others.
Ways to Stop Judging Yourself as a Caregiver
There is nothing worse than criticizing yourself. It doesn’t help to fix the situation, and you feel more and more negative. Caregivers who judge themselves become less focused over time and more stressed than they should feel.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Caregivers
When comparing yourself to others, you are only lose focus on the things you are doing and become less effective. It is completely fine to ask other caregivers if they know how to do things better than you. However, it is entirely different when you look at others and think you are not as good as they are.
People make different choices because circumstances differ. Your situation may be similar to other caregivers, but it is unique in many aspects. Thus, when you make a different decision than another caregiver you know, do not automatically think that your choice is a wrong one.
Avoid Negative Thoughts
Once you realize you are too hard on yourself, calm down, count to ten, and take a deep breath. Negative thoughts are distracting and can have a bad impact on your mind and health. When you find yourself being negative, try to focus on the positive aspects of your life. You can train yourself to be positive, but it takes time and effort. In the long run, it is way easier to go through life with positive thoughts than negative ones.
Have you heard of caregiver support groups? You are surely not the only caregiver in this position. There are many others out there who take care of seniors and spouses and used to blame themselves for everything. Ask them how they stopped judging themselves, and they will probably share their story.
Don’t Speak Negatively to Yourself
Don’t call yourself stupid for the things you forgot to do. Don’t think you are the worst person in the world because you said something inappropriate but didn’t mean it. Don’t think you are useless because you couldn’t do one thing. Stop judging yourself as a caregiver! You are not stupid, bad, or useless. Just see how many things you do right and how much help you provide to your loved one. Never speak harshly to yourself, always focus on the things you did right.
See What Is Truly Important to You
You are stressed because you didn’t wash dishes today? Who cares?! It is not the end of the world. The more important thing is that you spent some quality time with your loved one. And what about the dishes? The dishes won’t break if you leave them dirty overnight.
These are five ways that should help you to stop judging yourself. Instead of blaming, you should praise yourself for everything you did well each day. Try to find positivity in everything and it is less likely that you will suffer from caregiver burnout. Once you recognize you are too harsh on yourself, try to get away from that the quickest you can. There is no good when the mind is full of negative thoughts.
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