I don’t want to belabor this point, but there are many emotions with caregiving. The care receiver is losing their independence and watching and waiting as their cognitive and physical abilities dwindle. Fear, sadness, anger, and grief are a mixture of emotions that form their days. Caregivers have their own—frustrations, fears, inadequacy, isolation, and of course, losing their sense of self.
Like it or not, caregivers are in a leadership role. We are the ones who set the pace for our days and theirs. So, how can we stay strong when we feel weak or beat up by the emotions simmering or blowing up around us?
The last thing we need is to drag yesterday’s problems and the emotions that go with them into the new day. The Bible tells us in the book Lamentations that God’s mercies are new each morning. Every day is a fresh start. Every day is an opportunity to do better and to improve on what you learned yesterday. How do we let the hurt of yesterday dissolve so we can start fresh? How can we learn from yesterday when we feel ashamed or guilty for not doing the vital thing when we felt weak?
The secret may be living in the present without regretting yesterday or fearing tomorrow. It’s called mindfulness. It’s not an easy shift when you are on the swinging pendulum of regret and fear. It takes a concentrated effort to stop the pendulum.
What would it look like for you to be wildly successful at what you do? Don’t be too hard on yourself; think it through, talk to others, pray, listen. What would inspire you to be better? Is it an early morning or late evening walk to think things through? Off point, but George Washington Carver would often take long walks in nature to think and, as a result, came up with many valuable ways to use the peanut. If walks are suitable for coming up with peanut butter, then they can help us.
Shift away from anger by considering the actual outcome you desire from a situation according to your success plan. Anger is more than likely in the way of your goal rather than a way of achieving it. Deep breathing is a great way to slow yourself down and clear your mind. Deep breaths distribute oxygen to your whole body, adding strength. Having a mantra to center you back can be a helpful tool. “God is my strength,” “Rejoice in the Lord always.” “Cast all my cares upon Christ for He cares for me.” What will help you calm your soul?
Remember, your anger is not permanent, and neither is theirs. When you are on your walk, you can understand your anger and even cradle it in a sense. You are not a robot, and that’s a good thing. You matter! Emotions are a part of what makes us human. You deserve tenderness and loving care too. What caused the rise in anger to rise so unannounced? How can you make yourself less vulnerable the next time you feel overwhelmed? Nothing beats being prepared! Love yourself and appreciate the emotional state of you and your care receiver. Remember, “this too shall pass.”
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