Caregiver Help photoCaregivers tend to have unreasonable expectations of themselves. When we don’t feel patient, nurturing and kind, we judge ourselves harshly.

Caregiving exhausts a person physically, mentally and emotionally. The day-to-day monotony of it can leave us feeling sad and cheated. My mother often said, “My husband died on October 30, 1993. We just haven’t gotten around to burying him yet.” There were days when it was hard for her to remember who he had been before his stroke and days when it was hard for her to love the man he had become.

Having negative feelings doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. If you are caring for a stroke survivor, someone with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or any other illness or disability, you will experience anger, guilt, depression and grief. Your feelings are valid.

I hope this weekend you will treat yourself to something that brings you a little pleasure. I know self-care can feel selfish, but it’s not. It will help you survive. You don’t need an excuse. There is no need to apologize or explain. If you can accept that your own needs are as valid as your care receiver’s needs, and you invest a little time and energy in your own well-being, it’s more likely that you’ll be able find the strength to continue to doing what needs to be done.