Awareness of Emotions

Most caregivers experience difficult emotions at one time or another. It is important to understand these emotions and learn from them in order to manage your feelings effectively.

  • Grief
    • You must first allow yourself to feel the pain of your loss- avoiding these feelings only complicates your grief response.
    • Grieving is a process that is unique to each of us- there is not a right or wrong way to grieve.
    • To help grieve your losses:
    • Express your feelings in constructive ways
    • Talk about your feelings with understanding people
    • Give yourself permission to cry
    • Get Support
  • Denial
    • When reality is too painful to absorb, people use denial as an escape route.
    • Share the story of your situation with others to lessen denial
  • Fear and anxiety
    • The ongoing uncertainty and stress of living with illness causes these feelings.
    • To manage these feelings:
    • Confront the worst that could happen
    • Educate yourself on the illness and what to expect
    • Break fear and anxiety down to specific components to make them easier to cope with
  • Anger
    • Anger is a normal response to loss from the care receiver and/or caregiver.
    • To effectively manage anger:
    • Recognize and accept your anger.
    • Use “I” messages
    • Structure situations so it feels safe and comfortable to share feelings.
    • Select the best time to express anger.
    • Use the energy and fire of anger to make positive changes.
  • Resentment
    • As a caregiver, you need to balance your own needs against the person you care for in order to avoid resentment.
    • Give yourself permission to take care of yourself.
    • Get adequate rest.
    • Set limits and learn to say no.
  • Guilt
    • Caregivers guilt is often inflated as there are many causes for caregiver guilt.
    • Talk with a supportive understanding person about your feelings of guilt.
    • Stop blaming yourself.
    • Understand the limits of your responsibility.
    • Accept the fact that no one is perfect.
  • Caring for Yourself
    • Participate in activities you enjoy
    • Treat your body well.
    • Use relaxation techniques.
    • Make use of books and tapes
    • Get a good nights sleep.
    • Get social support.