How to Be a Caregiver Without Forgetting to Take Care of Yourself
3) You feel guilty.
As a caregiver, you're making so many important, life-changing decisions that it's all too easy to second-guess yourself. (Did we choose the right nursing home? Did I spend enough time with her today?) By accepting that feeling this way is normal and in no way means you're a bad person, you'll help keep guilt at bay. Guilt is what tends to make people depressed and anxious; they may even unconsciously do things that are self-destructive to "punish" themselves.
Another key to combating guilt is to pinpoint what you feel guilty about. This can help you understand that some things are just out of your control, like the fact that your loved one is sick. Sit down with a pen and paper and ask yourself, What makes me feel guilty? and write down everything that comes to mind. For each point, ask, Can I do something about this? Am I being reasonable? For example, you may feel guilty about taking time for yourself—but that's one of the most important things enabling you to be a good caregiver. Caring for a sick loved one is a tremendous responsibility. All you can ask of yourself is that you do your very best—without sacrificing your own health and well-being.
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