Being a caregiver is different from most jobs. As a caregiver, you have to put all your focus on your patients. Your day starts with assisting a patient with activities of daily living such as bathing, brushing, toileting, dressing and grooming. Sometimes, you have to help with mobility assistance such as taking the patient to walk, going for medical checkups and so on. Caregivers who deliver care at home are also involved with housekeeping and cooking food. And, lastly one of the most important tasks of a caregiver is to provide companionship and as a friendly companion, you have to share fun stories with your patients, learn about their past and provide emotional support.
That being said, caregiving can sometimes be rewarding and heartwarming, but most of the time, it is hard and very stressful. Caring for someone in a serious condition, for example, isn’t easy at all. For instance, you have to watch them deteriorate –possibly physically, emotionally and/or mentally. The person you’ve known and cared for a long time might be gradually taken away before your eyes and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to change that.
In addition, depending on the patients’ illnesses, caregiving can also be physically demanding, especially if you have to lift or assist bodily movements.
Constantly being with people who are suffering or dying is hard because their pain, fear, anger, resentment, guilt, bitterness, confusion and sadness can trigger your emotions and leave you emotionally drained. And, people who experience such an amount of stress are those who become most vulnerable to health issues like diabetes and heart disease.
If caregiving is what you like doing, then you need to set the following resolutions if you want to keep up and thrive in 2023.
In general, being self-critical isn’t bad. But, as a caregiver, self-criticality can be toxic.
Let’s say, for example, you were caring for an end-stage cancer patient and one day, the person died. In a self-admonishing state of mind, you might start telling yourself things like, “I didn’t try hard enough,” or “I didn’t do my job right.”
You let that single event define your self-worth when the patient was already destined to live his last days of life.
As a caregiver, it’s easy to grow closer to your patients. But, please refrain from criticizing yourselves after a patient’s death.
As a caregiver, you always want to be there for your patients. You want to listen to them, play with them, laugh with them and support them. But, even with outstanding qualities and matching job skill sets, it is impossible to be perfect and be there 24/7 for your patients.
So, instead of blaming yourself for not being competent or quick enough, try to be more understanding towards yourself. For example, if you lose your temper with a patient, don’t keep on blaming yourself. When you acknowledge the fact that everyone makes mistakes and forgive yourself, you will be able to do your job better.
One thing that causes us stress and anxiety is negativity. That little voice in your head that always makes you think about how all things are going to end up bad, you need to remove it.
You cannot fight all the negativity in the world but you can fight your own battles.
As a caregiver, you’ll find yourself several times in negative situations, but it is important to keep a positive mental attitude. You have to do your part if you want things to be better.
Pessimism is a social disease of epic proportions and like most infectious diseases, it can only be fought with a vaccine. And, in that case, the vaccine is known as “optimism.”