Why do I feel like I'm not good enough?
Believe it or not, every caregiver must have asked themselves this question.
In my opinion, caregivers are among the most amazing people.
It's never easy to attend to people in need. Yet, most of the time, caregivers put their needs last to care for their loved ones.
However, caregivers also often feel guilty for not doing or being more for their elderly loved ones.
So today, we'll discuss how you could manage your feelings better. This way, you'll finally stop asking yourself, why do I feel like I'm not good enough?
We all know that growing old is part of the cycle of life.
However, most of our concepts about aging and the elderly are influenced by how they are portrayed in the media.
They're either wise, white-haired folks enjoying their mimosas on retirement or frail, feeble characters lying in bed.
It is rare to talk about the slow decline of seniors, especially those experiencing neurodegenerative illnesses.
Plus, the fact that most people don't have an ideal relationship with their aging parents doesn't make it better.
That's why it is a shock when first-time caregivers care for their loved ones. They struggle with emotional roller coasters that cause them to feel burnout.
If you or a caregiver you know is experiencing caregiver guilt, this is for you.
It's never easy to handle caregiver stress.
While it's true that caregiving has its rewards, it also comes with unique challenges.
Taking care of the elderly, especially those with chronic illnesses, can take so much from a person.
The Family Caregiver Alliance shares data about a caregiver's quality of life.
Most caregivers are aged 18 to 29 and 30 to 40-year-olds. Caregivers working full time are said to suffer poorer health than their non-caregiver counterparts.
So how do you manage caregiver guilt better? Here are some of my best tips.
The first step is always to acknowledge what you're feeling.
It's perfectly fine to feel uneasy at times. You're human, after all.
But if it comes to the point where your guilt or resentment is getting to you, you need to do something about it.
Talk to someone you know won't judge you for feeling what you're feeling. It may be your partner, a friend, a healthcare professional, or a fellow caregiver.
What's important is to get your thoughts out there so you can start analyzing and addressing what you're feeling.
If you're not comfortable with talking with someone, try journaling instead.
There's power in seeing your thoughts on paper. It helps you process your emotions better and also identify behavioral patterns.
Keeping a journal can help you see the triggers that cause you to respond the way you do. It lets you become aware of your cycles and tendencies.
When you recognize these patterns, it will help you go back to your center. Awareness lets you be more in control of your emotions and choose how you react.
Since most caregivers are also empaths, their feelings of compassion are amplified with them.
Ironically, most caregivers are also too hard on themselves. Most feel like they don't deserve to feel happy while others suffer.
Psychologists are now using the term 'empathy-fatigue' to describe this.
As caregivers, you also need to set boundaries to continue caring for others.
What's important is that you recognize the need to be kind to yourself as you are to others.
Self-care can look different for most people.
It can be a morning routine or an afternoon jog. It can also be a trip to the grocery store.
Some go on one-week vacations while others prefer staying at home doing nothing.
Self-care is not just something you do on the surface. It also means taking care of other aspects of yourself beyond the physical.
It's caring about your thoughts, health, and sanity.
This is so important for caring for others, especially the elderly.
Not everyone has a good relationship with their aging parents. Often times, seniors can say cruel things.
Sometimes it gets to you no matter how kind and patient you are. And there will be times that you snap.
Don't worry too much about it. After all, you're human with feelings and emotions.
Forgive yourself if you lose your temper. Take a breath. Count to five. Step out of the room for a bit.
Give yourself permission to feel your feelings and then start over again.
This is such an important reminder for all caregivers.
It's easy to feel alone when caring for the sick and the elderly. The work is physically demanding and emotionally draining.
There are times when even well-meaning people can sound distant and disconnected. So instead of comforting you, their words can make you feel more alone.
The good thing is that you're never alone. So many caregivers go through these feelings all the time.
Caregiver groups are now available on social media channels like Facebook and Reddit. Here you could have the option of sharing your challenges and finding the right solutions to your problems.
Sometimes they also offer comfort to those who are feeling caregiver guilt.
Some people even create good relationships and networks in these groups.
Check out my previous blog post about which groups to join for support.
If you ask,' why do I feel like I'm not good enough, it means it's time for a break.
There are different ways to address these thoughts. What matters is finding the right one that lets you take a breather.
Remember, you deserve as much care as others too.
How do you deal with caregiver guilt? Share it in the comments below.
That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!