As a caregiver, you may be focused on looking after your loved one rather than looking after yourself. This can easily backfire, as you end up suffering both mentally and physically. If you start feeling lonely, depressed or extremely tired, a support group might be the best way to solve the situation. Here are seven advantages of attending one.
- They stop you feeling lonely
If you spend most of your time in the house and looking after just one person, you can start to feel isolated from the rest of society. You may feel as though the world is going on without you, and it’s easy to lose touch with your old friends when you are too busy to see them. Especially if you are working from home at the same time, loneliness can be a real issue. A support group will change all of that. You can feel like you are part of an extended family when you meet with other caregivers.
- You can gain more knowledge
What should you do when this happens? How can you cope with that? What’s the best thing to do in those situations? Other caregivers may well have experienced difficulties before you do, and can help you to understand how to deal with them. This knowledge will help you to be a better caregiver and reduce the stress on your shoulders.
- You can talk openly
You might never know how much stress you could release by talking until you do it. You might feel guilty about complaining or sharing negative thoughts, but a support group is a safe place to do this. Once you let those feelings out, you might be surprised to find that they don’t seem as serious as they did inside your head.
- They help normalise you
You may feel like you are the only person in the world dealing with your situation. Join a support group, however, and you will soon find that a lot of people are going through the same things that you are. They have the same doubts and fears, the same weird moments, and the same difficulties. Learning that what you are dealing with is normal will help immensely with your mental health.
- They put you in control
If you feel like being a caregiver is running your whole life, you may also feel powerless and out of control. Going to a caregiver support group will help you to understand that you are still in control of your whole life. Speaking to others will empower you.
- They help you cope
When times get tough, you may feel like giving up or curling up in a ball until it all goes away. The strategies that you learn, and the support you receive, from your group will help to improve your coping skills. You won’t feel that the situation is so bleak.
- They can raise your spirits
Caregivers often struggle with negative feelings. Distress, anxiety, and even depression can be common. You’ll be surprised at just how much your emotions can lift after attending a support group consisting of people who know your fears well and often experience them as well. Even if all you do is talk about your feelings, you’ll leave the meeting feeling lighter.
- You can explore treatment options
A support group will help to explore and discover new treatment options, as well as optimizing the ones you are currently using. Ultimately, this may mean that you can keep your loved one at home for longer and improve their quality of life, which is a goal that anyone would be happy to work towards.
Being a caregiver is hard, and no one expects you to bear that burden alone. Make time for a support group and you’ll see what a difference it can make.
About the author:
raTrust, are experts in the field of STI and HIV prevention, David might often be found online, sharing his tips and suggestions for leading a healthy lifestyle.