Caregivers tend to accept others as they are and are often forgiving and understanding people. Self care is important as no one has more capacity for patience and tolerance than people who care for others. 

Self Care

This patience may be stretched to its limits, however, by the conditions and circumstances you face when caring for others.

Physical pain, cognitive decline, and medical issues can impact the emotions of those you care for, making it difficult to remain tolerant and kind. Handling aggressive or negative behaviour can be challenging, as patients may become difficult or uncomfortable to be around. Dealing with anger or meanness can lower your tolerance threshold, leading you to become grouchy and less patient.

This capacity may be stretched to its limits, however, by the conditions and circumstances you face during your caregiving journey. Physical pain and ailments, cognitive decline, and medical crises can affect the moods and emotions of those you care for, and the result can make it challenging to remain tolerant and kind. Aggressive or negative behaviour is never easy to handle, and patients can become hard to deal with or uncomfortable to be around. When faced with difficult, angry, or mean behaviour, your tolerance threshold can take a hit, and you can become grouchy and less patient. 

When your tolerance has been stretched thin, try following a few simple techniques. 

Are you H (hungry), A (angry), L (lonely), or T (tired)? (HALT)

  • HALT and do something about it. It’s important to stop and acknowledge that you are reacting instead of responding and that your ability to be calm and balanced has slipped away. If you feel irritated or annoyed, it’s time to pause and look at what’s happening. What’s going on with you? Is there an issue that needs to be addressed? If so, HALT, grab a healthy snack, take a break, work through your anger, call a friend, or take a rest. 
  • Step back and observe your loved ones* from a different perspective. It’s important to spend some time trying to figure out why they are being difficult. Is there an explanation for the change in behavior or physical status in your loved ones? Are they in pain? Is something upsetting or frightening them? It’s always easier to be tolerant when you understand what’s creating unusual behavior or uncomfortable behaviors. Investigating the source of irritating or irrational behavior and getting answers switches your focus to relieving the pain, addressing the fear or discomfort, and fixing the issue as opposed to being upset by it. 
  • Don’t blame yourself. When you are feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, it’s tough to be patient and accommodating. This happens to all caregivers—it’s just a side effect of caregiving, and it will pass. Be kind and patient with yourself. This is merely a bump in the road. 

Tolerance never disappears; it just hides behind the clouds sometimes. Take it easy, and, like the sun, tolerance will shine on you and your loved ones once again.  

One thought on “Self Care for Caregivers

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