The average caregiver is extremely harsh when it comes to self-judgment. If that describes you as well, you need to know that it is possible to break the cycle but you need to really pay attention to what you’re doing so you can turn it all around.
Start to Notice Negative Self-talk.
What does it look or sound like when you talk badly to yourself? Do you call yourself names or do you simply feel disgusted with yourself? When you understand what those thoughts are like, you can start to turn them into much more positive thoughts and actions. This is the very first step.
Use a Distraction Right Away.
Now that you know what it looks like when you’re criticizing yourself, throw a distraction into the works right away. Blink, take a deep breath, or say a specific phrase that you craft just for this purpose. Something along the lines of, “I am doing a great job as a caregiver!” can work well. The reason for this is you’re disrupting the negative self-talk before it can keep going and digging away at your self-esteem. Then you can start replacing the negative with the positive.
Beware of Comparisons You’re Making.
Any time that you compare yourself to someone else, you’re likely to find yourself lacking. Avoid comparisons, especially with other caregivers. Focus on what you’re doing that is working well. That’s going to allow you to see even more positives.
Keep Track of What You Do Right.
If you’re stuck on that last step because you’re not sure what’s working well, it’s time for you to keep a log of what you’re doing that is wonderful. This sounds a little silly until you start doing it regularly. Keep a running list of every win you create. Before long, you’re going to have a big, long list of accomplishments that you might not have remembered later.
Talk to Other Caregivers.
Other caregivers know just how difficult all this is. If you’re already a member of a support group, ask other caregivers how they cope with being overly judgmental to themselves. If you’re not, it might be time for you to find and join a group in your area.
It’s not easy to stop judging yourself and your actions as a caregiver, but it’s definitely something that you can do. It takes time and commitment to treating yourself well. You deserve to be treated well, even by yourself. The better you treat yourself the better you’ll be as a caregiver.