Eventually, nearly every caregiver feels like someone is judging their caregiving skills and decisions. Sometimes the people doing the judging are other family members. However, often caregivers are their own worst critics, questioning whether the decisions they make are right and judging themselves far too harshly for minor mistakes. If you find yourself feeling guilty as a caregiver, there are ways you can work toward squashing those feelings and looking at yourself in a more favorable light. Below are some tips to help you stop criticizing your caregiver skills.
Give Up Being a Superhero
Sometimes caregivers think they should be able to fix every problem their older family member has. That’s an unrealistic goal. You cannot rescue your loved one from aging. Nor can you cure an incurable disease. No matter what you do as a caregiver, they will still get older and a progressive disease will still get worse. Even though cannot change those things, what you are doing still makes a difference. Without you, the older adult’s quality of life would almost certainly be worse.
Shush Your Negative Self-Talk
Do you find yourself berating yourself over mistakes and replaying them in your head over and over? That’s called negative self-talk. Pay attention to your thoughts and notice when you are being negative. Do your best to stop the negative self-talk. It may be helpful to remember a success, no matter how small it was. For example, maybe you succeeded in making the older adult smile or you made a meal they complimented. Thinking of your success may help to remind you that you are doing a great job.
Take a Break
When you find yourself wallowing in guilt, try taking a break from whatever you are doing. Take a few minutes to do something that you and enjoy. When you’re pressed for time, make it something quick, like watching an Internet video that makes you laugh.
Focus on the Big Picture
Instead of criticizing yourself because of little things you didn’t get done, step back and look at the big picture. Does it really matter if the house isn’t spotless or if your aging relative spent the day lounging in their pajamas? Not really when the big picture is that the older adult is happy and has everything they need.
Create a Journal of Successes
Perhaps you’ve heard of a gratitude journal, an idea touted by Oprah Winfrey as a way of focusing on the things you’re thankful for. Caregivers can benefit from keeping a similar kind of journal. However, instead of listing things you are grateful for, list the things you were successful at each day. This can help you to re-focus on the positive when you find yourself slipping into feelings of guilt and doubt.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elder Care in Mount Laurel, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Attentive Care Inc. 1-800-493-5660