Use These Tips To Turn Caregiving Into A Joyful Experience
Caring for loved ones is hard work. It can leave family caregivers stressed, tired, and resentful. Pegasus caregivers in Canoga Park and elsewhere offer these tips for finding joy in caregiving.
It’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on life when you’re a caregiver. Before the pandemic, other people could travel, go to the movies, or do whatever they wanted to do for fun. Only the pandemic restrictions hamper their activities now.
You love the person you’re caring for, but sometimes you resent the demands on your time and energy. Unless you put a stop to it, that resentment can grow into hatred of your caregiving role. As well as robbing you of happiness and joy, it can affect the quality of care you’re providing.
Happiness And Joy Are Different Emotions
Although many people don’t differentiate between them, happiness and joy are not the same emotion. One is external, and the other is internal. Both are within your reach.
Happiness results from circumstances, situations, and things. For some, it’s a job promotion. Others find happiness in their possessions.
Happiness, regardless of the source, is ultimately temporary. As circumstances change, what makes you happy can change. For example, as a caregiver, having time to yourself brings more happiness than a new gadget.
Joy Comes From Within
Joy does not depend on anything outside of you. It’s based on your attitudes and beliefs. For many individuals, joy is rooted in their spirituality.
Feelings of inner peace and contentment, regardless of external situations, are the hallmark of joy. It’s about connecting with others and accepting circumstances. Joy is appreciating nature, beauty, and the inherent goodness of life.
Joy lasts because it comes from deep within. Adversity doesn’t diminish joy. Caring for a loved one is a service to others that can add joy to your life.
As a caregiver, your time may be filled with attention to the needs of your loved one. Often, quality of life for you and your loved one gets lost in the shuffle. Adding fun activities adds happiness and joy for you both.
You may only be able to carve out a few minutes. That doesn’t matter because it’s usually the little things that bring lasting pleasure. Sometimes joy comes from observing your loved one smile rather than doing a particular activity.
However, shared activities can add enjoyment. Most require you to put aside thoughts of what you or your loved one can’t do. Instead, you’ll need to come up with creative solutions.
Spending time listening to music together can be safely done at home. You can choose tunes that are restful, joyful, invigorating, or whatever most pleases you. You and your loved one might even start singing or dancing to a catchy melody!
You both may end up laughing at your out-of-tune or out-of-sync efforts. Nothing beats a good laugh for relieving stress. You’ll have the benefit of shared joy, and that will last.
Create Your Joy
Caregiving combined with a pandemic increases your daily challenges. You still have control over your thoughts and your personal joy. You don’t need to be a Pollyanna, but you can create more joy in your life by nurturing your spirit.
Stop dwelling on how things used to be. Let go of the negative thoughts about how things are now. It may take extra effort, but you can find something positive in every occurrence.
Free your creativity. Learn something new—there are classes galore available on the internet. Keep a gratitude journal, soak in a warm bath, tell someone how much you love them.
Healthy relationships with others provide balance in your life. COVID-19 has hampered spending time with friends. Keeping up with friendships will take some creativity.
You may have to rely on phone calls or internet meetings. If you wear a mask and socially distance, you may be able to meet in a park. Or enjoy a cup of coffee together at an outdoor café.
Go With The Flow To Create Joy
You have what it takes to care for a loved one. You also have the strength and ability to care for yourself. It perhaps isn’t easy, and you’ll likely have relapses, but you can make your life happy and joyful.
Caregiving sometimes infringes on your ability to get enough sleep, exercise, or prepare healthy meals. You may have to give up the idea of having control over your time.
What you can do is “go with the flow.” Use your strength to do what you can, when you can, as well as you can. Accept that you can’t do everything every day, simplify, and prioritize.
Experts suggest finding one easy task that needs to be done daily. Making your bed every day is one of their suggestions. Just accomplishing that one task each day will be a source of joy.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our caregivers in Canoga Park and our other locations understand the work involved in caring for a loved one. They have the experience to help you turn your caregiving into a joyful experience for you and your loved one.