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Take care of the caregiver, because YOU matter!

The role of a caregiver can take a toll on you; physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. It can leave you feeling isolated, overwhelmed, and guilty. You may also exhibit feelings of sadness and anger. These feelings are your body’s way of communicating with you. It is important to pay attention to your emotions and take action. Feeling guilty as a caregiver is a normal emotion, you’re human! However how you manage your feelings of guilt is important.

Ignoring your emotions and not taking care of yourself may cause more harm than good. It can affect your health and impact your ability to care for your loved one to the best of your ability.

If you or a caregiver you know is having difficulty managing feelings of guilt, here are a few tips for managing caregiver guilt:

  1. Be aware of your feelings of guilt. Listen to your body. You can journal to help put into words, what you are feeling. Read it back to yourself when you’re done. It may help.
  2. Give yourself permission to feel. It is okay to have feelings of guilt. You are human! Have compassion for yourself.
  3. Identify why you feel guilt. Ask yourself, what is contributing to my feelings of guilt, what do I need?
  4. Take care of yourself: Take time for yourself if you need to. It’s okay.
  5. Reach out for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you are not alone. Call a friend or join a support group for caregivers.

You will be a more effective caregiver when you take time to care for yourself. If you don’t take time to manage your guilt, it can leave you feeling like a prisoner. Taking care of yourself optimizes your own self-care. There is no doubt, caring for a loved one can be challenging, however to provide the best care you must be mindful and listen to your body.

Some may find it a relief to know, they are not alone. Check out your local resources for events happening in your community.

References:

Rackner, V. “Eight Tips to Managing Caregiver Guilt.” Caregiver.com, 24 Apr. 2019, caregiver.com/articles/managing_caregiver_guilt/

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