4 Ways to Be an Even More Awesome Caregiver

November is National Family Caregivers Month. If you’re a caregiver, you might feel tired and unappreciated at times. But muster some enthusiasm to celebrate your amazing self — all year round.

Here are my four suggestions for being an awesome caregiver.

1. Stop fighting. From a doctor with the world’s worst bedside manner to a store clerk who glares, sometimes others can exhibit less than ideal responses to your situation. Offer some grace to the insensitive folks in your life. It’s unlikely they’re out to get you, and practicing patience with them can go a long way. So can kicking passiveness to the curb — speak kindly, but speak up about what you want. Anger takes so much energy. And energy is a precious commodity.

2. Outsource. Research. Respite. Repeat. Forego cable TV if you must and make respite a priority — from a qualified sitter to someone who can drive to therapy sessions. Vet closely, but not with impossible standards.

3. Lean on friends and family members. Really. They want to help. Let them. Have honest conversations about what folks are and are not comfortable doing. For example, some loved ones might be delighted to take your kid to soccer practice or pick up the dry cleaning while they’re out.

4. Take time for yourself. Hospitals have rooms for doctors to catch some z’s when they’re not working. You are the primary practitioner of your world. Go to your room when you can. Sleep, soak in a bath, practice belly breathing, take a walk, grab dinner with a friend, read a good book — or all of the above. In one day. When so much seems out of your control, it’s tempting to want to seize control wherever you can, cramming “down time” with chores, errands or catching up on bills. Don’t make your to-do list the default mode. Make rest and play and whatever’s good for your soul the default instead.

Follow this journey on Huckleberry Friend.

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