You might not be as nice to yourself as you think while you’re on your caregiving journey. Being nicer to yourself will help you to get through difficult times when it feels as if caregiving is just too difficult.
Think about How You’d Treat a Friend.
Would you treat a friend or a family member better than you treat yourself? Most caregivers would, which is why this is an old trick that works really well. Take some time and think really deeply about how you would treat someone else in the same situation you’re in as a caregiver. Once you’ve got the detail down, it’s time to apply what you’ve discovered to yourself.
Write a Letter to Yourself.
If you’re still having a difficult time with that first activity, you might want to start with a letter to yourself. You can start out by listing what you expected or wanted caregiving to be like for you. From there you can look deeper at the reality of your situation and see where you can make changes. Even the most difficult situations have some aspects you can change.
Roleplay Your Senior and Yourself.
Getting a different perspective can help you to see things from different points of view. You can even see things about your own perspective more clearly. Imagine different scenarios that you have had trouble with from your senior’s point of view and then imagine what you would have done differently. You may find that you did what you could do in that situation.
Rearrange Negative Self-talk.
Negative self-talk is one of your biggest enemies as a family caregiver. Once you start to recognize it, you can rephrase negative self-talk and turn it around so that it’s more positive. If you’re consistent with this, you can recognize negative self-talk before you even say it to yourself.
Ask Yourself What You Need.
You probably ask your senior and other people in your life what they need or want, but how often do you ask that of yourself? Start doing so more often. If you need to rest, make sure that you’re able to rest. If you need to eat something nutritious, make the time to eat something filling and healthy. Start considering your own needs more often.
Some of these techniques can take a little bit of practice to get right. Set aside some time to try each of them and to figure out how you can treat yourself a little bit better. As you treat yourself better, you’ll find stress levels decreasing.