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 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• You become withdrawn from your social circle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
• You may not be as active, but make sure you are talking to at least two friends every week or visiting another every other week or even having friends over
3. Planning will be an integral part of life so when you plan to go to that movie or take that vacation, speak with the parent as well
• If they require a lot of care, assure them that they will be looked after until you are back
• Ask your parent if he or she would want to take the time to visit elsewhere
• Tell him or her about the help you are getting at home for him or her while you are away
4. Take time out for yourself
• Keep up with appointments at the hairdressers and get yourself a massage now and then
• Indulge in treating yourself to extra good food once a week or a new outfit once a month
Last, but not leas, you must remember at all times that:
• It is perfectly normal to seek help from support groups if you find the going difficult the first few months – such as those of local area agencies for the aged, or support organizations that deal with depression or stress
• It is not right to push your body beyond its limits to accomplish all on your to-do list. You need to prioritize, plan, delegate and team up. Your ticking off all the activities chalked for the day is not necessarily a reflection of who you are or your worth.
I hope these pointers will help make your life easier and aid you to chart out your life at least broadly, so that you will experience less worry and anxiety in everyday living with a live-in parent.
Mamta Singh is a published author of the books Migraines for the Informed Woman (Publisher: Rupa & Co. URL: http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298990756&sr=1-2), the upcoming Rev Up Your Life! (Publisher: Hay House India) and Mentor Your Mind (Publisher: Sterling Publishers). She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites. She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health. Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation.