Caregivers truly are the unsung heroes of the world. But sometimes, just knowing you’re doing an extraordinary job caring for a loved one isn’t enough. You’d like to hear the words “thank you” from your loved one once in a while — and that’s completely normal. But what do you do if that “thank you” never comes? Here are some ways to help yourself get through tough times when you’re feeling unappreciated.
Join a support group
If you’re not already a member of a caregiver support group, then it’s the perfect time to join one. It helps to hear the stories of others who are going through the same experiences. When it’s your turn to express your frustration, you’ll find people in your group who both understand and appreciate your story and your struggles.
Try respite or in-home care
If there is any way to minimize specific, thankless tasks you perform as a caregiver, that’s something you may want to consider. Perhaps there’s a task that causes stress above all others. Everyone needs a break and time to themselves. Using respite care services and/or in-home care services can help you to be a better caregiver and avoid burnout.
Take care of yourself
Eating right and getting enough sleep and exercise are critical for caregivers. Also, as much as your schedule allows, spend time with friends and other family members. Maintaining strong social connections is important. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. Many caregivers stop doing simple things they enjoy, so try to make time for things that make you happy and relieve stress, such as reading.
It’s hard for a person to keep doing a thankless job, so don’t wait: Say “thank you” to yourself by doing things you enjoy. Because one thing is for certain: You are the most appropriate person to recognize what an outstanding caregiver you are!
Closing your eyes, listening to some soothing music and taking deep, cleansing breaths can really help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Studies show that the benefits of meditation — less stress, better sleep and improved mood — are real. Not sure where to start? There’s a variety of top-rated free and low-cost apps that can help. One is the Calm app. Calm offers guided meditation with soothing music in 3- to 25-minute sessions. Want to develop a daily meditation practice? Try Daily Calm, the app’s 10-minute program that helps you meditate in the mornings or evenings. You can also check out or purchase a book on meditation.
Get help if you need it