One type of mental energy leak that I always want my caregiver clients to look out for are what I call “unnecessary engagements.”
Sometimes these are little niggly back-and-forth exchanges that you repeat out of habit or anxiety that don’t ever lead to anything productive.
They can also be conversations that are started cuz someone tried to provoke you and you took the bait. Or when you are trying to argue reality with someone who no longer has the mental cognition or emotional coping skills to grasp or absorb what you are trying to get them to understand.
It’s like when you see someone trying to have a logical conversation with a two-year-old… no matter how logical your logic is, you are wasting your energy.
I encourage you to start noticing the small moments when it’s really not worth the energy to engage – and then don’t engage.
Experiment with not giving that piece of advice. (Yes, I know it could help your mom if she followed it… but what are the odds?)
When it’s not a matter of life or death or medication, experiment with choosing not to remind or suggest or nag or ask twice.
As caregivers, we have to be really honest with ourselves because sometimes we indulge in unnecessary engagements as a way to vent our emotions or get a little hit of superiority dopamine – but that is neither a healthy nor mature way to process your feelings.
Picking your “battles” wisely conserves your energy so that you can sustain your ability to give care over the long haul. This can be a hard habit to break. If you need some help with it, let me know.
Thank you for spending this time with me – and thank you for being one of the ones who care.
Details about my group coaching program for caregivers are here.