Caregivers Need to Hear Thank You
I know you didn’t jump into caregiving for the accolades. You see your aging parents need help and rolled up your sleeves and just do what needs to be done. That’s the type of person you are. You jump in without giving thought to the emotional challenges, or the physical challenges or the damage to your finances.
November is National Caregivers Month. It is also a month where people across the United States stop to give thanks. Unfortunately, many times, we don’t thank those who do the heavy lifting, even on days when we give thanks.
We express gratitude for the roof over our head. We express gratitude for the food in front of us. We express gratitude for our health. But somehow, we forget to express gratitude to those who keep all of the balls in the air. The people who keep us healthy and functioning should be thanked.
So, if you haven’t heard those magic words from your loved ones and don’t expect to hear them, I will express them now.
Caregivers Have a Big Impact
In case you don’t hear how valuable you are to your caree, here are some of the ways caregivers impact the lives of their loved ones.
- Caregivers keep their loved ones healthy
- Caregivers provide love and support to their caree
- Caregivers keep their loved ones safe
- Caregivers manage the well-being and mental health of their loved ones
- Caregivers help their loved ones manage day-to-day living
- Caregivers honor their loved one’s wishes by helping them remain independent into the home
- Caregivers are unsung heroes in their family’s lives
5 Acts of Self-Love for Caregivers
Unfortunately, you may not get the recognition you deserve from your family or friends. Your caree may not be able to express his or her gratitude and family and friends may not realize how much you really do. It is really hard for someone to understand how much is involved in caregiving until they go through it themselves.
You can’t count on others to give you that pat on the back or to reward you. As a caregiver, you need to occasionally put yourself first. Here are some simple acts of self-love that you can do for yourself.
- Make yourself a priority. Whether you embark on a mission to eat healthier or start taking a daily walk, do something just for you.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Sometimes it is easier to focus on how difficult your day was or how unhappy you are. Set aside a few minutes every evening to write down three things that make you grateful. If you are having a particularly difficult day, you can use these: you woke up, there is a roof over your head, no one died. I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with much more than that, but those will work on the bad days.
- Do something you love. It can be hard to set aside time to do something you love but you need to make it a priority. The dishes will always be dirty. The laundry will always need to be done. You need to create room for things that make you happy. If you love reading, read a book before bed or listen to an audio book while you do the dishes. If you love to crochet, work on a piece while you watch TV.
- Take time off. Reach out to your siblings, cousins, neighbors or friends to have someone come relieve you for at least one afternoon/evening per month. If you have not one person in your life who will step up, consider hiring a paid caregiver for the task. It will be worth the money, I promise. When you have someone in place, go somewhere you love and just relax. Whether that somewhere is the park, the ocean or a museum, just get away and disconnect.
- Get some sleep! I know, easier said than done. Your head is probably swimming with all of you to dos. Put a notepad next to your bed and write down anything that pops into your head. Practicing good sleep hygiene will also help you sleep better.
Caregivers, I know you are giving it your all and sometimes feel invisible. Just know that you’re not invisible. You are important and contribute to the well-being of your loved ones. Be kind to yourself and take care of yourself. Without you, all the balls in the air will fall.
Whenever you are feeling down, remember these caregiver affirmations.