Caring for an ill loved one is time consuming, emotionally draining, and an overwhelming responsibility on any given day. Yet 2020 somehow decided to continuously prove you wrong whenever you settle on thinking, “well it can’t get much worst than this.” It almost seems cruel, that simultaneously your world as a caregiver is falling apart, the rest of the world rudely continues to do the same. If you’re feeling a little cynical right now, you’re not alone. Here are a few ways to maintain senility through today’s chaos.
“When you find no solution to a problem, it’s probably not a problem to be solved. But rather a truth to be accepted.” -curiono.com
Let’s face it, there’s a lot out of our control right now. Acknowledging the things we simply aren’t going to find a solution to is vital to our emotional well being. According to a study on coping among caregivers, a caregivers quality of life is directly effected by their coping skills. Avoidance of these emotions lead to lowered quality of life, while active and socially supported coping improves it to caregivers.
Tempting, but ineffective ways to cope:
Avoidance: ‘Nah, nah, nah, I can’t hear you,’ might have worked as a child, but ignoring our feelings today won’t change anything.
Numbing: Let’s face it, this sucks but attempting to drown out you feelings in the long run will not make you feel better
Risk Taking: The opposite of numbing is wanting to “feel” and risky behavior can often provide the adrenaline rush required to do so. This however can lead to long term consequences. Some example of risky behavior include unsafe sex, theft (looting anyone?), and reckless driving.
Escaping: As if quarantine and social distancing isn’t enough, attempting to further isolate from friends and family will likely lead to worsening depression and anxiety symptoms.
Effortful, but worth it in the long run skills:
Problem Solving: Is it time to ask for help from friends and family? Or contact your local agency for aging to find out about resources such as respite care or home health aide to decrease your personal responsibility as a care giver? Identify the causes of your stress and take action on things your can change.
Relaxing: Although this might seem impossible right now, spending even a few minutes meditating, deep breathing, or using progressive muscle relation techniques can help reduce levels of stress. Additionally, make it a point to get some you time by spend time with nature, listening to music, or partaking in other self care activities.
Physical Activity: Instead of drag racing your emotions away try walking, jogging, sex, dancing, or whatever gets your heart pumping.
Find Support: Although it may often feel like you’re alone in this care giving journey you’re not. Reach out to your friend and family. Schedule video conference or other social distancing appropriate hang. Look online for support group for caregivers going through common struggles. Keeping connected now is more important than ever in staying emotionally fit.
We cannot control the pandemic, nor the current political climate, but we owe ourselves the gift of utilizing the right skills through this all. Life never happens at the right time, so accept that feelings of confusion, anger, and unfairness, and then do something to hang in there.
If you’d like to learn more about coping as a millennial caregiver contact the Author below:
Diana “RN Boss D” is a nurse of over 15 years. Her passion is helping millennial caregivers navigate and cope through the complexities of caring for their loved ones without losing themselves.
Rodríguez-Pérez, M., Abreu-Sánchez, A., Rojas-Ocaña, M. J., & Del-Pino-Casado, R. (2017). Coping strategies and quality of life in caregivers of dependent elderly relatives. Health and quality of life outcomes, 15(1), 71. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12955-017-0634-8