Acknowledge the situation you’re in and admit it can be difficult. Don’t dwell too long on the negative aspects, but be honest with yourself about how you feel.It's okay to feel life has been unfair. Write away your frustations in a journal.
Read up on the medical condition of your loved one. The more you know about the illness, the better you understand certain behavior and symptoms. And, you will be able to anticipate what might happen in the future.
Give yourself a break. Schedule one half hour everyday at the same time where you are off-duty. Stick to that schedule to establish a routine that gives you downtime that belongs to you alone. Take that half hour to de-stress.
Set a daily routine and follow it. By establishing a fixed schedule, everyone involved will come to anticipate what is going to happen and you will have more structure in your life. You will feel more in control of what is happening.
Maintain a portion of your life totally separate from caregiving. Stay connected with friends. Try to fit in a hobby that you've sacrificed. Perhaps something as simple as a crossword or jigsaw puzzle. This activity will provide a segment of time totally unrelated to caregiving.
Last of all – find a way to laugh. Nothing works faster to bring your mind and body back into balance. A good laugh is a great form of stress relief, and that’s no joke.
Written by JoAnn Polley, Creative Director of Caregiver Communications