They say that the closest job to being a hero is being a president. Presidents do not have time for their family, they put the country first before themselves and are always at the edge of stopping wars. However, in my point of view, caregivers are the true superheroes. Who exactly is a caregiver and what does it mean to be one that I call them superheroes?
Well, a caregiver is an individual that actively helps another person who is disabled, chronically ill, or of old age. They provide healthcare and help in certain activities that include some housework, medication, grooming, feeding, bathing, other bathroom functions, and cleaning.
See? They take care of someone and most of the time that someone is not even related to them, and that is not easy!
Caregivers are very much vulnerable to stress, anger and many other negative emotions due to the nature of their job. Aging and sick people, especially those with dementia, can be so hard to deal with when in their “tantrum” or hard-headed mode. Caregivers mostly struggle to keep their calm; however, caregivers are also people that can be won with their emotion.
During bad days─ and there will be bad days─ such dark thoughts and emotions can be depressing and stressing with a follow up of shame and guilt to a caregiver. It is quite uncommon for caregivers to think and feel something like:
- He keeps on complaining about this! Why can’t he just shut up?
- No one can understand what I’m going through right now!
- I should not be doing this for her!
- His sickness should be fatal! Why is he still alive and bothering me?
- I should quit this job!
It’s okay for caregivers to be angry sometimes since they are also humans and especially if the one they are taking care of is rude, ungrateful, and spouts every painful word that comes to their mind.
So, as a caregiver, how should you keep your negative thoughts from getting the better of you?
ALWAYS FORGIVE YOURSELF
Stop having the unrealistic idea that you can maintain a strong, unwavering patience to your patient all the time. As a human being, you are not perfect, no one is! If ever you experience a moment of anger and dark thoughts cloud your thinking for a moment, learn to forgive yourself. Also, give yourself credit for the countless times that you choose patience and the numerous hours you spent taking care of your patient.
IMAGINE YOURSELF IN YOUR PATIENT’S SHOES
If you are starting to turn red and your fists begin to clench, imagine for a second if you were your patient. This might help you release all the negative feelings shrouding you and deal with your patient with a little more patience.
GET YOURSELF SOMETHING TO EAT
When you get to the point where you can’t take it anymore, open the fridge, look for a snack and eat while you calm yourself. Or it is much better if you get one for your patient and eat together for both of you to calm down. Also, eating every three hours can help in maintaining your blood sugar level which is responsible for stress and coping ability. So, try to eat often to improve your patience and stress coping ability.
SCREAM SOMEWHERE OR PUNCH A PILLOW
Rage and anger can turn your vision black and can make you do something you do not want. When you ever have this kind of situation, go somewhere alone and ventilate your anger through screaming or punching a pillow or a doll. This has proven to be therapeutically effective and can help you calm down.
Increase the amount and time of your exercise. You can even work out while in the waiting room. Physical activity is an excellent mood booster. It helps reduce your overall stress level and keeps you calm.
TAKE SOME TIME OFF
Oftentimes, anger and impatience stem from exhaustion. Caregiving can drain all your strength physically and mentally. It can have a negative effect on your body and on your overall health. Sometimes, taking a leave or resting can help both you and your patient.
Caregiving is never an easy job. Caregivers might be seen sometimes as the villain for getting angry at an old, sick person; whereas, they know that they did all they can to be calm. However, their ability to still care for their patients even after vowing to quite many times is highly commendable since not all people can do this.