Caregiving is a selfless job. You provide support to someone who desperately needs it from you. You give, give, give and give some more. However, when does that giving get to be too much? When does the giving cross boundaries?
Why Crossing Boundaries Is Bad
The reason crossing boundaries is bad is because it can burn someone out quickly. This can make them overly tired, grumpy, and resentful. It can also lead to illness. Usually, this is because the person puts the other person’s needs before his/her own. This just leads them to feeling worse than what the person receiving caregiving felt before.
“Over attachment” is something caregivers and seniors need to pay attention to when they are in a situation such as this one. It’s not healthy because each of them depend on one another. When something happens and they are not able to be around each other, there’s a feeling of loss. It is incredibly bad when this happens and the senior passes. The caregiver is left feeling as though all that he/she was living for is gone.
How to Establish and Maintain Boundaries
Establishing and maintaining boundaries isn’t as difficult as you may think. You will need time away for yourself regularly. This time should not be committed to something else such as work, family, or friends. It needs to be time in which you can reflect and recharge. You may spend this time doing something you enjoy such as painting, drawing, or some other hobby. It might be time to write in a journal, scrapbook, or just read. This time should be solely for you, so you know how to spend quality time with yourself.
When you first start doing this, you will feel weird. You will feel as though there is something missing. You may even feel guilty. This feeling is normal and it is a sign that you were becoming overly attached. Give yourself time to adjust. Do it for as long as you can, and then go back to life as you normally live it. As you do it more, the break will start to feel better. Over time, you will start to enjoy it, and you may even get to a point where you will look forward to it. Yes, it doesn’t seem as though that is possible right now, but it really is…
Once you have established boundaries, the next obstacle to overcome is maintaining them. Things will come up that will make it difficult to keep those boundaries intact. You may feel as though you are being pulled in many different directions, and giving up your time will feel as though that is the easiest option. Do not allow yourself to do that. You don’t need to give yourself up. It’s best to find some other way to deal with the situation, so you still get your time. If that means you have to say no sometimes, or have someone step in and take care of your loved one, that’s okay. You do not have to feel guilty about it. You are taking care of your loved one, but you’re also taking care of yourself.
Need More Help?
If you feel as though you have a lack of boundaries with your loved one as a caregiver, but you can’t see yourself establishing boundaries and maintaining them, consider turning to a personal consultant. Kendall Van Blarcom is a professional personal consultant who can help you improve your life as a caregiver, so you can continue to love what you do for your loved one. Contact him now for more information on how personal consulting can help you through some of the struggles that are common for caregivers.