3 Ways to Stay Positive When Caring For a Parent

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For the past few years, I have been caring for my mom. As her health declines, I find myself taking over certain chores and things she once could do. I don't do laundry all the time but on most days when she doesn't feel well enough to handle the task, I take over. I help clean and cook. I do it because I love her.

But once in a while, I feel like there is no end in sight. You both get frustrated because you can ask for help from family members, but that rarely ever happens. The lazy one will say, "I don't feel like it." while the snooty one will say, "Sorry. I can't help you. Do it yourself.". You and your parent want to throw in the towel, but you know you can't. There are days it's hard to start positive. But I have found a few ways that keep me staying a bit more positive on those gloomy times.

1. Take a breath. When I feel like I am on the edge of screaming or crying, I take a step back and breathe. You can do meditation breathing, square breathing... whatever kind of breathing technique works for you. But breathing helps clear my mind and my emotions. Sure, a tear might make an appearance, but not for long.

2. Don't forget why you're doing this. I won't lie. There are times when I feel like no one appreciates all that I do. Vacuumed the floor and did 3 loads of laundry in one day? Nada. In reality, hindsight is 20/20. Just because someone, especially a parent you're caring for, doesn't show their appreciation, it doesn't mean that they don't appreciate all you do. Remember that you're caring for your loved one because you love them. It easy to get swept up in wanting applause for everything you do, but who did the clapping for your loved one when they helped out? 

3. Take some time out for you. I don't take care of my mom 24/7, but there are times it sure feels like it. They say we crave companionship but when you're near the same person every minute of every day, you feel like tearing your hair out. You love them with all your heart, but it doesn't help your emotional status. I've gotten angry once just because I felt like I was going insane. So I starting going outside and walking around for about 30 minutes every day to every other day. It gives me a chance to stand back and just think things through without someone interrupting my thoughts.

Once in a while, it's okay to feel like you can't handle it all. You want to scream, cry, and yell, "Enough!". However, don't let that emotion rent space in your heart and mind forever. Let it stay for a moment, and then move onto something a little more positive like talking to someone or going for a walk. You'll feel better and be able to tackle any task with a fresher mind.

You can't stay positive all the time, but sometimes all you need is a boost.

If you care for a loved one, how do you stay positive in trying times?

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