Express fear, anger, worry, pain, anxiety, and all other emotions in the journal.
Caregiving is emotionally and physically stressful. To give the best care, you will be tempted to put the needs of your loved ones before your own. As a result, you might end up with feelings of loneliness, anger, guilt, and sadness. These feelings might trigger depression for the caregiver.
In this article, we will discuss how to overcome depression as a caregiver. But let’s first start by looking at the symptoms of caregiver depression.
Caregiver Depression Symptoms
Depression is not just the daily blues. It’s a mood disorder causing persistent loss of interest and feelings of sadness. Seek help when you notice any of the following signs.
- The feeling of emptiness, tearfulness, sadness, or hopelessness
- Frustration and anger outburst over small issues
- Loss of pleasure in daily and regular activities
- Tiredness after a small task
- Restlessness, agitation, or anxiety
- Difficulty in making a simple decision
- Frequent thoughts of self-harm
What to Do if You Have Caregiver Depression Signs
Depression, if not treated, can affect the quality of care you provide to your loved ones. Seek help. You will feel better with psychological counselling, medication, or other treatment recommended by your doctor.
Simple Ways to Prevent Caregiver Depression
As you look after your loved ones, you can prevent caregiver depression. Do the following simple steps and overcome depression.
1. Reach out for help
Don’t let the responsibilities of taking care of your loved ones overwhelm. Seek help. If possible, get close friends and family involved in providing care.
Look for support groups and share the burden of caregiving with other people. Learn what other caregivers are doing to help their loved ones. A support network will help you. You won’t feel depressed, depleted, and isolated. There will always be people around you to support you whenever you need.
2. Have Other Relationships
A caregiver might find themselves only concerned about their loved ones. If not careful, you might end up living fully in the life of caregiving. Such kind of life will overwhelm you. In the end, you might become lonely and start hating yourself.
This should not be the case. You have a life. Seek and keep other relationships. Have friends who are not in caregiving. Have friends who care about you. Maintain relationships that focus on other matters like having fun or self-development. The goal is to keep yourself connected to other people. It will help you grow all the different areas of your life.
3. Keep a Journal
A journal will help you unburden your fears and worries every day. It is a great way to improve your mood. Write everything that you did or feel in the journal. Express fear, anger, worry, pain, anxiety, and all other emotions in the journal.
Journaling is like talking to someone about how you feel. But you are not sharing with just anyone. You are talking to yourself. You can be open and genuine to yourself better than you can do with anyone else. As a result, it will relieve you more than you could be when speaking to someone else.
4. Have Time for Yourself
Caregiving can be demanding. You might spend all the time looking after your loved ones. It’s good for your dependants but not yourself.
Engage in fun activities. Find a time and relax. Do whatever makes you happy. If you love movies, make time to watch your favourite TV show.
Most importantly, make time to do regular physical activity. Meditate regularly, eat and sleep well. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for people who need you.
5. Always Be Positive
Discouragement can come easily when you are taking care of someone. But don’t let the negative thoughts come to your mind. Be positive. Despite the challenges you are going through, understand that better days are coming.
Sometimes you might be forced to take care of abusive people. Some other people might not appreciate anything you are doing for them. This can be difficult for you. But don’t give up. If you neglect them, you might end up feeling guilty. As the guilt build up, you might develop caregiver’s depression.
6. Appreciate Yourself
Caregiving is not easy. Feeling unappreciated can worsen the situation. Imagine how you would feel when your loved one is healthy. Appreciate yourself for the efforts you are putting to see them improve.
Don’t wait for external validations. List all the differences your caregiving is making. Let these improvements be your source of encouragement.
As you overcome caregiver depression, you will be more productive. It will be easy to look after your loved one. At the same time, your life won’t stop. You will grow and be happy with the contribution you are making in the lives of people around you.