Setting Boundaries

Reduce Stress – Avoid Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver setting boundariesSetting boundaries may be one of the most important skills we can develop in order to reduce stress and avoid caregiver burnout.

Are you aware that saying “No” doesn’t make you a bad person? As a caregiver you have an endless list of resposibilities. There are countless things you want to do, and a ton of things you HAVE to do. But here’s a big news flash:

You do NOT have to do everything other people want you to do, and you do NOT have to accept the responsibility for another person’s reaction to any given situation. Sometimes in order to take care of yourself, you have to be willing to let other people get angry.

Years ago my husband and I were in an emotional tug of war over a conference I wanted to attend. We’d talked about it, fussed about it, tiptoed around it, and finally one day I said, “You know, Alex, no matter what I decide to do about this, one of us is going to be upset.” We were both a little surprised when I then said, “This time it’s not going to be me!”

Here are two sentences I hope you’ll memorize and use:

“That doesn’t work for me.”
“I need to do this for myself.”

Using these statements closes the door to negotiation. It isn’t mean. It isn’t selfish. It’s a simple matter of setting boundaries.

In order to take care of yourself, you have to be able to say “No” once in a while. You will feel healthier emotionally, mentally and physically when you set some boundaries. And when you aren’t feeling angry or resentful, you and your care receiver will both benefit.

If you have difficulty setting boundaries, you might want to watch our video about managing caregiver frustration. When you draw a line in the sand over which no one is allowed to cross, it will help you reduce stress, which in turn will help you avoid caregiver burnout.

Click here to watch: How to Manage Caregiver Frustration