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1. Be kind to yourself
Often we are kind to others while we push ourselves beyond our own limits. The first step in dealing with caregiver stress, anger, or frustration, is to care for yourself. Well-meaning friends and relatives often tell you to take care. But no one will actually tell you how to take care of yourself while supporting a loved one or sitting at his or her side at the hospital.
One of the first things to learn is to ask for and accept help. It’s important to clearly identify your needs and acknowledge that you can’t do it all alone. This can be hard to do. Make a list of people you know who would be willing to help. Help doesn’t necessarily mean caregiving, but every task or chore that is removed from your full plate will give you a few more minutes of you time every day!
2. Pack a caregiver bag of your own
Find an attractive cloth bag for essential personal items when you visit the hospital with your loved one. Keep hand lotion, lip balm, a journal, a novel, or any item that is soothing for you.
3. Be mindful and meditative
Pick up a book on mindfulness meditation. Carry a book on mindfulness with you and read a passage or two when you have a few minutes. Use a journal to jot down your thoughts and feelings. Being mindful reminds us to have gratitude for even the small mundane things — after all; they can go away in a flash. When caring for your loved one, be mindful of how he or she feels, smells, talks, laughs, etc. Appreciate the beauty of it all. The memories you make in doing so can be conjured up at a moment’s notice… forever. Seize the opportunity to be present in the moment. Refuse to let stress or anger rob you of valuable time.
4. Laugh, laugh, laugh
We all know the power of a good belly laugh! Try to see the humor in life.
5. The Sandwich Generation Community
If you have children or even grandchildren of your own but you still care or are concerned about an elderly relative, you are a member of The Sandwich Generation. But don’t worry, you are not alone. Share your experiences or advice with others by registering and joining our forums.