Frustration is a part of everyday life to some degree, but for many home caregivers it can sometimes reach new levels. This may come about for any number of reasons and may especially be true for home caregivers whose loved ones are experiencing dementia or other conditions which can make caregiving more challenging.
All of us have coping mechanisms for day-to-day frustration. Home caregivers who experience a greater than normal level of frustration on a regular or recurring basis may benefit from these helpful hints.
- Recognize what can be controlled. One of the most important things to realize where frustration is concerned is that some things are within a person’s power to change, and some are not. Recognizing this distinction and applying it to a specific situation helps a person to know how to better handle that situation. If it can be changed, the best approach may be to develop ways to bring about that change; if it cannot, it’s necessary to look for strategies to make the situation less personally frustrating.
- Understand the response. If something cannot be changed or controlled, a person then needs to remember that it’s still possible to change the manner in which he or she responds to that situation. To do this, it’s necessary to:
- Look for frustration signals. Sometimes a person experiences frustration without really putting a name to it. Some signs that a person may be experiencing excessive frustration include pains in the stomach and/or chest, shortness of breath, a desire for alcohol or to eat when not really hungry, headaches, and impatience.
- Take physical action. When aware that one is experiencing extreme frustration, it’s important to take definite steps to counteract the feeling. Taking slow, deep breaths is one way to help, as is counting to ten. It may be possible to physically leave the area by going into another room or for a walk around the block. Meditating or taking a few minutes to do yoga or other physical exercise may also prove beneficial.
- Ask for help. If frustration is too difficult, especially if it occurs on a regular basis, a home caregiver needs to ask for help. This may involve asking family members or friends to provide relief, meeting with a therapist to discuss ways to handle the feelings of frustration, and/or re-prioritizing tasks to allow for personal time on a regular basis.