It’s always been the two of you. You’ve always been a team.
Then suddenly, teamwork is no longer possible.
One of you is thrown into the role of caregiver. Your daily life turns from running a household together, to running the household by yourself AND taking on the new role as caregiver too.
Of course, there are going to be difficult times.
Of course, there’s going to be resentment.
Of course, there are going to be challenges every step of the way.
Nothing prepares you for the day you realize you’re no longer a part of a team. It’s you and only you who is now running the show.
According to a survey by Caring.com, fully 80 percent of caregivers have stated that caregiving strains a marriage and other relationships. And while it may be somewhat expected, nothing prepares you for the feelings that can quickly overwhelm you, sometimes without realizing they are building up.
The result is the one in the caregiving role can feel isolated, tension, bitterness, and a whole lot more stress in an already stressful life.
Acknowledge your feelings
Many feelings will overwhelm you throughout this process. And while many of us don’t want to acknowledge we have them, realizing they are a natural part of the process can help you muddle through. Caregiving brings on sudden changes; changes we never expect. And when they break up what you had before, these feelings can intensify quickly. You’re not alone. Talk to others in the same situation. Join a support group – in person or online – to help you with the very worst days. And realize that every day brings out a new set of challenges and opportunities.
There’s only one of you
One would take out the trash; one would vacuum the floors. All of your household chores were split between the two of you, each having a hand in making your house a home. Until the other half disappeared. Now you have to take out the trash AND vacuum the floors. And there isn’t enough time in the day to get it all finished. There never will be; this is how you can quickly get overwhelmed. This is also why you should ask for help as early as possible. If your spouse mowed the lawn, don’t try and do the job yourself. Hire it done. Release the jobs you can’t do or simply don’t have the desire to complete, and make time for the jobs that are most important to you.
Feed yourself every day
In order to remain a strong part of the team, you must remain strong spiritually, emotionally and physically. That means now more than ever, you need to build in time each day to participate in the things that mean the most to you. Take time out for reading, journaling and meditating. Continue with your daily walks or workouts at the gym. Build personal time just for you, even if its only for a few minutes each day. This is what keeps you whole. This is what keeps you sane. And even on your craziest days, a little time for yourself can help you refocus and relax, let your cares slip away even for just a moment.