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  • Writer's pictureCassandra Martin-Himmons

How To Start Coping With Caregiver’s Guilt And Build Up Your Resilience


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Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash


Have you ever experienced feelings of guilt directly related to your caregiving duties? If so, you’re not alone.


As a woman, more than likely you’re the backbone of your family and it can be tough juggling your desire to show up and provide care to your loved ones, manage your stress and slay at work as well.

Because of this, it’s common for female family caregivers to experience feelings of guilt, stress, and burnout.


Caregiver guilt is a feeling that you are not doing enough for your loved ones, or that you are not doing a good enough job. It can be caused by many things, such as the demands of caregiving, the need to balance work and family commitments, and the feeling that you are letting down your loved ones.


If you're experiencing these feelings, I have a self-care checklist that can help you begin the process of letting go of the guilt. Sign up below:



Having these feelings can make it difficult for you to be effective as a caregiver. So what are you supposed to do?


First know that your feelings are your feelings. Acknowledge them. That’s important. You should allow yourself to feel your emotions, even if they are negative. Don't try to bottle them up or pretend that you are okay when you’re not. Because they will come out sooner or later.


Once you’ve done that, then it’s time to start building up your resilience.


Resilience is the ability to bounce back when times turn tough. You build up your resilience by engaging in stress management and self-care activities to take care of yourself so that you can be there for your loved ones.


Building Up Resilience And Lessening Caregiver Guilt


Expectations and Boundaries


  • Set realistic expectations about what you can reasonably accomplish. You can't do it all, and that's okay. Don't try to do everything yourself. Ask for help when you need it and accept that you cannot control everything. Setting realistic expectations for your caregiving role and other responsibilities can help alleviate the guilt.


  • Set boundaries. It is important to set boundaries between your caregiving role and your other roles in life. This means saying no to requests that you do not have the time or energy for, and delegating tasks to others when possible. Remember, “No” is a complete sentence.


Communication




  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Open and honest communication with your family is vital, especially with the loved one that you’re providing care for. Discuss their preferences, needs, and your boundaries. This can reduce guilt related to decisions and choices.


  • Talk to someone you trust. Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or other support person can help you to process your emotions and develop coping mechanisms.


  • Seek professional help if needed. If you are struggling to cope with caregiver guilt or stress, it is important to seek professional help. A therapist can teach you coping mechanisms and help you to develop a resilience plan.


  • Join a support group. Support groups can provide a safe space for female family caregivers to share their experiences and learn from each other.


Self-Care

  • Caregivers often put their own needs last, but self-care is essential. It’s important to make time for yourself, even if it is just for a few minutes each day. Do something that you enjoy and that helps you to relax and de-stress, whether it's a hobby, exercise, or simply taking a break. Exercise, relaxation techniques, and spending time in nature are all healthy ways to cope with stress.


  • Practice positive self-talk. Be kind to yourself and focus on your strengths. Remind yourself that you are doing a good job, even if it doesn't always feel that way.


  • Focus on the present moment. Don't dwell on the past or worry about the future. Take things one day at a time and focus on what you can control.


  • Celebrate your successes. No matter how small, it's important to acknowledge your accomplishments.


Select 1 or 2 ideas that you can implement and start them today. You may not alleviate all of your feelings of guilt, but you can begin the process of letting it control you less and that will allow you to be the caregiver that you want to be. You can do it, because it's all about Making Time.

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What activities are you going to try to help cope with caregivers guilt and build up your resilience? Let me know in the comments section.

 
Picture of Cassandra in front of a red brick wall.

Cassandra Martin-Himmons, LMSW is a stress management coach and content creator who believes in empowering her clients to help them manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time she enjoys papercrafting, hand embroidery and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or YouTube.

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