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Your ailing mother needs looking after. You and she decide mutually that she will move in with you. However, after the first week is over, your life begins to show signs of stress. Your spouse/partner and children feel neglected and though you seem to be running around trying to cater to everyone’s emotional and other needs, your mother also begins to exhibit difficult behavior. As weeks slip past, you notice that:
• You feel tired and stressed most of the time, having frequent headaches and stomach upset
• You are often wrought with feelings of guilt and resentment
• You seem to be experiencing what seems like mood swings and depression
• You become withdrawn from your social circle
If you are experiencing any or all of these emotions, you are bearing the burden of parental care instead of enjoying the limited and precious time he, she, or they have left. And life might seem like a very tightrope walk, with you balancing too many variables and feeling like you are fighting a losing battle. Although it is sometimes easier said than done, there are a few things you can still put into place that could reduce some amount of mental stress and bring more order into your mood and routine. Once you get the routine in flow, you should be able to reap the benefits of having an elder in the house.
In such situations, always remind yourself that you are the pillar who keeps the house functioning and on whom almost all members of the family depend for food, emotional support, etc. In order to do this properly, you need to be healthy above anything else--you deserve to be! Imagine being sick or unhappy in such a set-up. The foundations of the house will begin to rock in no time. Here is how you can help yourself and in the process reduce your anxiety and mood swings, and your feelings of guilt and resentment:
1. Take care of your physical fitness first
• Include time for any workout : a walk, run or jog, swimming, etc.
• Eat healthy, small portions frequently
• Learn relaxation techniques
2. It is essential you maintain your social network