3. Set a Goal
Having goals and expectations based in reality will save you valuable resources. Think about what is realistic now and what is realistic in the long-term. Can you really work a fulltime job, take care of your kids and care for your ailing loved one simultaneously?
Goals should also be specific to focus on the level of commitment that you are prepared to give. It seems that doing all of this will increase your stress and decrease your overall wellbeing.
Avoid saying something like, “I’ll do whatever it takes.” This stance could come back to bite you in the future. If you set your expectations too high, you feel failure and disappointment when the goal is not accomplished.
Clearly list what role you are comfortable taking. Revise this list often and avoid being too rigid. Realistic and specific goals wills change as the symptoms and functioning of your loved one changes.
4. Solidify Your Boundaries
The best way to protect yourself in this process is by implementing good boundaries. Boundaries keep up separated and removed from other people.
People with weak boundaries are usually more passive and allow others to use their kindness. People with good boundaries say “no” in situations that are problematic without feeling guilty or selfish. They are interested in the long-term accomplishment of the goal.
If the journey of COPD is new to you, establish rigid boundaries and take care to say “yes” when only when confident in your choice. Too many people feel more comfortable saying “yes” early on while not expressing their true thoughts and feelings.
This creates problems later, though, as others begin to expect certain things from you. It is far easier to loosen boundaries later than it is to tighten them.
5. Be Selfish
This is not a typo. It may sound shocking, but it is actually normal and healthy to be focused on you when caring for others. Find time for yourself. Find ways to recharge and recuperate in your downtime.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that best way to relax is staring at the TV from the couch or taking endless naps. These coping skills are more neutral or negative than positive. Focus your energies towards seeking out positive experiences with uplifting people.
Go pleasurable places, eat a good meal and get a massage. Find some way to bring humor and laughter into your life. Things have been serious lately so finding ways to shift your focus will be rewarding and revitalizing.
6. Be Holistic
In this case, holistic means paying attention to all aspects of your life in its entirety. If the only focus you have is on your loved one with COPD, the other facets will suffer. Attention to the older generation will result in fewer resources available to the younger generation.
Spend time with your children to maintain an effective relationship. Balance work with home life by using high levels of clear, assertive communication at your place of employment.
Being a caretaker is a juggling act. Keep all your balls in the air. If one is dropped, the whole process will waver.