Whether you have been giving care to your loved one for a week, a year, or 5 years, you will come on days when you throw up your hands in despair and say, “I give up. I can’t do this anymore!”
Why? What brings this on?
- Sometimes, you hit a wall. You don’t think you can keep doing the same thing anymore. It may be the repetitive nature of the care, the emotional demands of it, the discouragement of watching your loved one lose ground, or maybe the lack of appreciation coming from either your loved one or other family members. After awhile, they take a toll. They wear you down. The negative talk in your head combines with the discouragement you see all around you and it gets to be more than your handle. If you look at your situation logically, you may not come to that same conclusion, but this is often not the time for logic. It’s often a sign that you need a change of scene or a good night of sleep! Are you able to get some respite care?
- You aren’t taking care of yourself physically or emotionally.
- This includes getting exercise even if it is only walking. It is a great stress reliever as well as calorie eater.
- It includes eating a decent diet and not snacking on high carb food that causes your blood sugar to bounce up and down affecting your mood in negative ways.
- It includes making time to do things here and there that are fun for you. Reading a favorite book, talking to a friend, working on a craft, etc. Your life needs some things that are fun and bring you joy.
- This also includes keeping up with your doctor on your own healthcare needs, not just those of the person you are caring for. If you are not healthy, you can’t keep caring for him. That is how you need to look on it. This also includes moving and lifting him in ways that are healthy for your body. If you don’t know what those ways are, look online. Often, physical therapists will make videos to show you the safest ways to move people so you don’t hurt yourself.
- You need spiritual help.
- Caring for a loved one is not for the faint of heart. We often cruise through life without pausing to think about which needs fit into which category. But when it comes to doing loving things for another person who may not even have the ability to thank us, that comes in the category of something that drains us spiritually. We don’t always think of it that way. We often think we should be able to naturally do that kind of thing easily. But that is not a natural human trait. We are not naturally selfless over the long term. We need to have a full tank spiritually. It is not something that simply comes from determination. If you are a Christian who has the Holy Spirit living in you as promised in the Bible, you have a resource that is not available to others. But our spiritual resources tend to run dry quickly if we aren’t careful. Read this:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
- You also have a resource of other Christians in your church or from other churches who will pray for you. They can’t read your mind, but if you ask, they will pray for you and they mean it when they say they will. You will know quickly which ones are actually praying for you and which ones aren’t. This is a wonderful resource as well. To know others are lifting you up when you feel weak is very encouraging. Below is a prayer Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus. It is similar to prayers that could be prayed for you and me. The closing benediction is wonderful!
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened
with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,
according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV
Action Step: Where do you need the most help right now? Take some concrete steps to make one habit change to develop that new habit in your life. It may be something as simple as asking for help or for prayer.
I have learned to recognize weakness as a good thing over the past few years. When I acknowledge my weakness, I can ask for help. If I’m trying to appear to be strong, It is difficult to ask for help. Keep that in mind. Weakness can be a huge blessing!