There was something that occurred today that forced me to acknowledge something about myself. But before I get to that, there is something else that caregivers need to consider. My acknowledgement about myself was the result of being with my mother the majority of the day. We had talked previously and I was willing to sacrifice my appointment with the hair salon (the only treat I give myself) to take my mother to the grocery store. Kudos to her for being ready by 10am for me to get her in the car and to whatever store(s) she wanted to go. Store #1 she wasn’t there too long, and I got a chance to do my own shopping. Off to store #2: she was there from noon to almost 4pm. By that time of waiting in the car, being tired and hungry at the same time, I got a bit flustered. Finally, she came out (she wants no help as she wants to go down every aisle and do it all herself; in case you are wondering; I tried to help with the shopping which only flustered her, so I just wait in the car). I just wanted to get her home, unload our groceries and do something by myself with the time that was left of my Saturday. What was the first thing I did after the grocery unload? I found the closest restaurant and sat down and ate.
Now true, I did need to eat as I had not all day. But as I was waiting for the food, I began to analyze what took place. Why was I really here? And when caring for my mother, which includes answering the same question multiple times (I still get frustrated with that which cause me to get angry with myself for not being more patient), I have noticed when I am in that flustered state that I find something quick to eat, and mind you it is food of the healthy kind.
This is my way of dealing with the stress of being a caregiver. The quandary of trying to do the right thing that causes me to be angry with myself and impatient with my mother whose short-term memory is getting close to being nonexistent is no fault of her own, yet it is bothersome, and even writing that does not make me feel good. So what about you? What do you do that in your thought process is a stress buster? Is it a good way to beat the stress or is it a negative action that is only adding to existing stress? This is something that we all need to think about, admit first to ourselves before discussing it with others, and if is not a positive solution, make plans to eliminate it and develop a new and better strategy.
As for me, I was glad for the admission I made to myself. I believe it is a good first step in the attempt to cultivate the positive while getting rid of the negative. There is nothing wrong or inappropriate with having a stress buster; it just has to be one that will aid you in being a better caregiver, accentuating the positive and definitely not adding to the negative.
Be challenged and ask yourself how you deal with stress. Then do what you can to make the necessary adjustments.