Set Boundaries to Reduce Caregiver Stress

365 Messages of Hope, Humor & Heart for Caregivers – #3

reduce-caregiver-stress-set-boundariesWhen you spend the bulk of your time and energy caring for others, it becomes critically important to set boundaries. When you decide what you need to do to take care of yourself and you draw a firm line in the sand, other people will eventually accept and respect your limits.

In a letter my mother wrote to me about four months after my dad had his first stroke she said, “The one place where I don’t give in to Quentin is when I want to sit up and read at night. Last night he told me that the light being on in the living room and the noise of the turning pages was keeping him awake.

I told him that he didn’t have any trouble sleeping in the morning when I’m working. The dishwasher can be running, the phone can be ringing, people can be coming and going, and he can sleep like he’s dead. So I told him I need this time to myself, and if he can’t sleep at night while I’m reading, he will just have to stay awake!”

With a few more not-so-gentle reminders my dad came to understand and accept that Mom’s reading time was her time, and she was not to be disturbed.

When you set boundaries and engage in an activity that energizes your body and ignites your spirit, you and your care receiver will both benefit.