Put a Filter on Negativity
Maintaining a positive mental attitude as a caregiver doesn’t just happen. It takes conscious effort and a willingness to filter out the negativity in your life.
I used to be a news junkie. A few years ago I realized I was getting really angry and upset about things over which I had no control. Watching the late news and hearing about the most recent bombings, murders, rapes, drug busts and child abuse cases was sending me to bed with feelings of sadness and despair. I couldn’t emotionally afford to end my day with a huge dose of negativity, so I turned off the TV.
Last week I had coffee with a friend who brought up (once again) the troubled friendship she has with another woman. She’s been talking about this toxic relationship for the last three years. I finally got exasperated with this ongoing saga and I said, “Carol, for crying out loud, you get no joy from this relationship. She says mean things to you. She makes you feel bad about yourself. You get nothing positive out of spending time with her. END IT!”
Carol looked like I had slapped her, and I inwardly winced hoping I hadn’t hurt her feelings. But here’s the bottom line – it takes a lot of energy to stay positive when we live in a world that constantly bombards us with negativity.
When you are a caregiver, maintaining a positive mental attitude takes even more effort because you often have to summon the energy to keep yourself AND your care receiver in a positive state of mind. There are a lot of things we cannot change, influence or control, but we can filter the things we read, the programs we watch on television, and we can choose to only spend time with people who like us, support us and care more about lifting us up than bringing us down.
Filtering the negativity out of our lives doesn’t mean we’re trying to live in a Pollyanna utopia, it simply helps prevent anything or anyone from draining us of the energy we so desperately need to care for those who can no longer care for themselves.
Caring for yourself and staying healthy mentally, physically and emotionally doesn’t just happen. It takes effort. You might also want to check out CaregiverHelp Self-Care Module