Worrying hurts caregiver health and relationships
One thing all caregivers do is worry.
What if dad doesn’t take his heart medication? What if mom falls and gets seriously injured? What if my spouse has another stroke?
These concerns are legitimate and serious, but constant worry is stressful and will wear you down.
Too much worry can create anxiety, paralyze problem solving, and cause tension in relationships.
Being completely worry-free isn’t realistic. What is realistic is taking steps to get some control over your worries.
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 how to help prevent heart attack and deciding to make a few of the recommended lifestyle changes
- Putting together a list of family, friends, and medical professionals you can call during an emergency
Recommended for you:
- 4 Mobile Apps That Instantly Relieve Caregiver Anxiety
- 14 Practical Ways to Relieve Caregiver Stress
- 12 Top Books for Caregiver Advice and Support
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Sleeping Beauty Salon
This is perfect. Now a mantra when I start the worries. Worrying is misuse of the imagination. Writing things down works like magic! Thanks!!!!
So glad this is helpful!
I love this article! So much unnecessary stress and anxiety are cause by worrying about things we can’t control, and takes up brain space that we’re better off using to take care of things we do have a say in.
So glad this is helpful!