Anxiety for someone who is a caregiver can cover a lot of ground. Your elderly family member might have health issues that cause you to worry or you may simply worry about whether you’re even cut out to be a caregiver.
Interrupt Your Thoughts.
Anxiety often shows up in your thoughts and feelings. You might be afraid that something will happen or that you’re doing something wrong. No matter what is causing the anxiety, there’s something behind it. The second that you notice you’re feeling anxious, interrupt whatever thoughts you’re having right then. Some people find that saying “no” out loud can help while other people might use a word or a phrase that grounds them. Pick whichever approach works for you to interrupt what you’re thinking.
Check Your Breathing.
You might not realize it at first, but your breathing is likely to be shallow and fast when you’re experiencing anxiety. Try consciously slowing your breathing gradually. Try counting to three when you inhale and on the next inhale, count to four or five. Simply changing your breathing patterns can help you to calm down quickly.
Focus on the Present.
Anxiety often has its roots in “what if” or other future-oriented thoughts. Focus on what is happening right then in that moment. It’s highly possible that whatever has you feeling so anxious is something that hasn’t happened yet and maybe isn’t as likely to happen as you think.
Journal, if it Helps.
You might want to try sitting down for a minute and writing out what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling that way, and what you want to happen. Sometimes getting those thoughts and feelings out on paper can help to dispel them. You can start to see why your fears aren’t logical.
Write Down Something You’re Grateful For.
After you get everything else out, write down something you’re grateful for. It might be that you had coffee this morning, and that’s fine. What you’re aiming for here is something positive to think about and to focus on in the here and now. If you feel the need to write down more than one thing you’re grateful for, that’s fine, too.
As you become more experienced at interrupting the thoughts and feelings that are contributing to your anxiety, you can start to nip those feelings in the bud more quickly. The stronger your coping mechanisms are, the better you’ll do as a caregiver.