April 22, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille

Tired caregiver experiencing caregiver dread.

What are your first thoughts when you wake up each morning? Are you looking forward to what your day holds, or would you prefer to crawl back under the covers and remain there? If you are experiencing more dread than delight as you think through your caregiving responsibilities for the day, you’re not the only one. In fact, one of the leading caregiving challenges is caregiver dread.

Distinctly different from anxiety, depression, and even burnout, caregiver dread is a heavy, exhausted feeling of responsibility. It comes from feelings of overcommitment and the desire to get away from obligations. While possible to push through and perform necessary tasks regardless of these feelings, there are ways to overcome them instead – and restore the joy that comes from making life better for someone you love. For starters, try these techniques:

  1. Let go of the guilt. Meeting the caregiving needs of someone else can feel unimpactful, mundane, and just downright tough. It requires selflessness, which can feel burdening. Yet dreading the day-to-day tasks you are obligated to do by no means is a reflection of the way you feel about your family member. Admit to yourself that your role isn’t easy, and it is ok to wish you could be doing something different.
  2. Purposely seek out joy. The little pleasures every day holds can be dimmed by the difficulties. Make a point each and every morning to find five little things that make you smile. Keep a diary of each day’s finds and refer back to it at the conclusion of each week. Engage all your senses while you search for the day’s joys: the smell of freshly baked cookies; the beauty of the sunrise; the sound of your kitten purring; the invigorating feeling of a hot shower.
  3. Set boundaries. Schedule time daily to spend on pursuits that you enjoy independent of the senior loved one in your care. Plan and look forward to this time when your caregiving tasks start to weigh you down. A trusted care partner is key to ensure that nothing impedes with the important time of taking care of yourself.

Remind yourself that the work you are doing in taking care of your loved one is vitally important. Yet also remember that nobody is able to do it all, and in order to provide the best care for the senior and for yourself, frequent breaks from care tasks are necessary.

Get in touch with our aging care experts at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to schedule regular respite care services and release the burden of caregiving dread. As the experts in home health in Memphis, NY, and surrounding areas, we are here for as much or as little assistance as you need to help you enjoy quality time together with a family member and also to rediscover joy in your own life as well.