When you’re a caregiver, sometimes you feel as if your life is not your own. But it is and if your other relationships are suffering, they need your attention.
Being a Caregiver Is Important, but so Are You.
Often caregivers feel as if caregiving has to become the one focus of their life. This just isn’t true. Becoming a caregiver means that you have some different responsibilities, but it doesn’t make you magically no longer need a social life. You are just as important as your tasks as a caregiver are.
Give Yourself Some Events to Look Forward To.
You may find that you need to plan more than you did in the past. Making plans well in advance helps you to have events to look forward to, but be careful to plan as well as you can. If you start to flake out too often, your friends and family may start to feel as if you don’t care about spending time with them. Acknowledge that emergencies may come up, but try to keep as many of these “dates” as you can.
Stay in Touch with People in Your Life.
If you’re finding that you withdraw quite often from your friends and family, it’s time to consciously rethink that. Start making a habit out of reaching out to the people in your life. Ask them how they’re doing and what you can do for them. You might find that reaching out to other people helps to refresh caregiving for you because you’re sharing your gifts in multiple directions instead of just the one.
Make a List of Other Topics.
Often caregivers find that they don’t have anything to talk about besides caregiving. You really do, but it’s tough to remember what other topics you can talk about with the people you care about. Sit down and make a list of other topics you can bring up when you’re out and about being social.
Some Friendships Are not Meant to Last.
This can be a difficult truth to face, but some friendships are more temporary than others. No matter how diligently you try to keep them going, they’ve got an expiration date. If you’re struggling with that, try to give yourself some space to accept that not all friendships can be saved.
It’s possible that you’re happy with your social life for now and that’s fine. But being a caregiver means that you have to keep all of the different facets of your life alive and well in order to stay healthy. Periodically evaluate how much you’re enjoying your social life so you can make changes as necessary.