Anyone can feel like a failure on a down day, but when you’re a caregiver that feeling can really do a number on your self-esteem and on your ability to get things done. Here are some things you can do if you find that you’re starting to feel as if you’ve failed at caregiving.
List Out Everything You Do
What all do you do in a day or in a week? Take a few minutes and get a blank piece of paper and write out all the roles you play in life. The caregiver makes the list, of course, but you’re probably also an employee, a parent, a spouse, a friend, a sibling, and so many other things, to so many people. Those responsibilities all make up the vast expanse of what you do and what expectations are on you. You’re not failing. You’re busy.
Take Stock of Your Needs
When you start to feel like a failure, that’s partly because you’re not getting some of your own needs met. There’s a lot that you’re keeping up with, both as a caregiver and in other areas of your life. So, when are you taking care of you? If you’re putting yourself at the end of the list on a routine basis, and so many caregivers do just that, then you’re missing something important that you need right now.
Have You Ever Needed Help Before?
Most people have needed help from someone else before, so think about it from that perspective. What happened? Did you get most of the help you needed? All of the help you needed? There’s a high probability that if you got even a fraction of the help you needed you didn’t think of the person helping you as having failed. Maybe you felt that you could have gotten more help, but did you think in terms of them having failed? Unless the situation was pretty dire, you likely didn’t.
Find a Therapist You Trust
Sometimes when this type of feeling nags at you it helps to have access to a neutral third party, like a therapist. Your therapist can walk you through what you’re feeling and what you can do about those feelings. It helps if you find a therapist who understands what caregivers need and who is familiar with caregiving in general.
There are good days and there are bad days when you’re a caregiver. If you let the bad days take over, that can quickly lead to feeling awful on a consistent basis. Don’t do that to yourself. Get the help that you need and remember that you’re doing the best that you can.