Worrying hurts your health and relationships
One thing all caregivers do is worry.
These are all legitimate fears, but constant worry is stressful and will quickly wear you down. Too much worry can also create anxiety, paralyze problem solving, and cause tension in relationships.
We’ve got 3 ways to reduce your worrying and help you turn it into something more positive and productive.
1. Get your thoughts and worries down on paper
Write all your caregiving worries down on paper. Yes, all of them. Just writing things down helps you let go of some of the worries you’ve bottled up.
Seeing your thoughts in black and white can give you a better perspective and help you identify the specific things you’re concerned about.
2. Separate productive vs. unproductive worries
Caregivers have both productive and unproductive worries.
An unproductive worry is something we have no control over, like the fact that your mom’s health is declining. If you can recognize some of your worries as unproductive, you can get into the habit of telling yourself “there’s absolutely nothing I can do about this, so it’s a waste of time to even worry about it.” Soon, you’ll be able to stop worrying and accept it as an unchangeable fact.
A productive worry is something where you can do something to improve the situation. For example, if you’re worried that your dad will fall in the house, you can declutter and make key safety updates in each room like adding grab bars or other quick fixes that reduce his risk of falling.
3. Ask “what’s the worst that could happen?”
Tackle a worry head-on and ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen if this worry came true?”
Then, think about what you would do if it does happen. Preparing for a situation can reduce the power that worry has over you.
For example, if you’re worried that your husband could have a heart attack, think about what you could do if that did happen. That helps you take proactive steps like:
- Preparing a bag so you’ll be ready for an unexpected hospital trip
- Researching and understanding how to help prevent heart attack
- Putting together a list of family, friends, and medical professionals you can call during an emergency
As a caregiver, it’s impossible to be completely worry-free. That’s just not realistic.
But what is realistic is taking steps to get some control over your worries. Don’t let worry take over your mind, ruin your health, or damage your relationships.
Recommended for you:
- 5 Coping Tips for the Overwhelmed Caregiver
- 15 Self-Compassion Tools for Taking Care of the Caregiver
- 8 Benefits of Caregiver Support Groups