Caregivers Self Care Prayer
This caregivers self care prayer helps caregivers receive God’s help in looking after their own physical, emotional and spiritual needs so they can handle the demands of caring for a loved one.
At some point in our lives, many of us will take on the role of being an unpaid caregiver to someone in our family, close circle of friends or neighborhood.
This Caregivers Self Care prayer will help you get in touch with God’s help.
Caregivers Self Care Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father,
I come to you today asking you to help me take good care of myself so that I can take good care of my loved one.
I thank you that you understand the demanding nature and stress of my job.
My relationship with my loved one has changed from family member or friend to someone whose needs are very different. I feel sad about losing the way we were.
I struggle because I really want my loved one to be happy, but I see them suffering and I can’t fix it.
Sometimes I feel helpless, impatient and worn out.
Show me how to take good care of myself.
Surround me with supportive and loving people at home and in the community.
Connect me with a trusted friend I can check in with when I need to deal with my emotions, frustrations and feelings of stress.
Guide me to small moments of quiet, calm and refuge during the day.
Show me practical things I can do that will restore, refresh and energize me.
Give me a good night’s sleep. Help me eat healthy, exercise regularly and laugh often.
Attune me to your guiding voice when I need wisdom dealing with decisions, medical professionals, legal concerns and money.
Give me the strength to set healthy boundaries.
Remind me to ask for help when I need it.
Increase my faith and dependence on You.
I thank you for your heavenly affirmation that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:40 NIV)
I believe that since you have given me the job of caregiving you can provide everything I need to do the job well.
Thank you for loving me.
My personal prayer experiences during a difficult care giving situation
When Jesus walked the earth, there’s an interesting incident reported where there were so many sick people trying to push their way toward Jesus to be healed that Jesus told his disciples to have a small boat ready by the side of the lake in case he needed it to escape. (Mark 3:9) This passage shows us that even Jesus needed to make practical plans to manage the demands of caring for people.
In fact,, this passage became a lifeline to me when I was overwhelmed by my elderly father’s care. I didn’t know how emotionally starved I was until I burst out crying when I saw a beautiful sunset. In that moment of clarity I realized that my father’s illness had taken over my life, too.
One afternoon as I was so exhausted I couldn’t even take a nap so I began a prayer where I visualized myself getting into the boat with Jesus so I could mentally put some distance between myself and Dad’s needs. You can read some of the ideas I‘ve learned since then for what I call Hiding Place Prayer which is a way to move away from your life problems and move into the restful presence of God.
During my father’s illness my sister was the one onto whom most of Dad’s care fell. My sister and I took day trips together on occasion to nurture our own relationship outside of our caregiving roles. We also learned to pray out loud together for Dad when we had a chance.
One huge problem we had with Dad was his refusal to eat. Every meal was a battle of wills. In the end, we had to accept the fact that he was an adult and we couldn’t help him until he was ready to receive help. I wrote a “When someone won’t accept help” prayer out of my own frustrations during this and other struggles.
One day while trying to get the nursing home staff to take better care of Dad after we were alarmed at how much weight he was losing, I lost my cool when a nurse said in a condescending way, “We know more about your Dad than you do.” I was ready to explode and actually got up physically and walked toward the window. There with my back toward the nurse I shot up a quick arrow prayer of exactly one sentence, “Lord help me!” Quick arrow prayers can be a godsend to you during a day of caregiving
Symptoms of Caregiver burn out
Self care for caregivers is vitally important to avoid suffering from caregiver burnout.
Symptoms of Caregiver burnout include:
Constantly feeling tired, aches and pains and lowered immunity, eating problems and sleep disruption.
Having problems focusing, forgetting things, unable to concentrate
Being irritable and critical, losing your sense of empathy and compassion, feeling numb and like you’re going through the motions, lacking motivation and sense of accomplishment, depression.
Feeling cut off from God and feeling as if he doesn’t hear your prayers, feeling spiritually disconnected from and forgotten by others, questioning your faith, beginning to doubt God’s love and care.
Things that contribute to caregiver burn out
The following are things that can lead to caregiver burnout.
It’s hard to shift from our lifelong roles in each other’s lives. As caregivers the child may need to care for the parent, which reverses the role of the parent nurturing the child. A spouse may have to care for a spouse even though previously they have been partners and confidants who depended on each other’s strengths. Taking on the role of a caregiver is challenging, especially when either one of you are having difficulty realizing how your roles have changed.
It may be difficult to accept the fact that no matter how good the care you give might be, the person you are caring for may be unhappy or their situation might get progressively worse than better.
Feeling out of control
You may lack the resources of money, support etc. needed to help you feel that your situation is manageable.
Sometimes a care giver’s demands may become unreasonable and it seems like nothing you do pleases them.
Helpful tips for caregivers
Pray in any way that works for you. God is there and you are never alone. Prayer helps you feel this and act on it.
Another idea is to engage a prayer partner who agrees to pray for you or with you. If you can’t get out, you can pray together via the phone.
You can also contact prayer chains to pray for your situation.
If your loved one is receptive, you can say simple prayers together. These don’t have to be long and involved. You can make it a part of the daily routine, such as a prayer over a meal or a prayer when going to bed. It may benefit your loved one greatly being able to offer prayers for others when their ability to reach out is limited in other ways.
Support groups are a great way to connect with others going through what you’re going through. If you can’t physically go to a support group, consider joining one online. A woman I know who was caring for a sister with early onset Alzheimer’s found an online group of others dealing with early onset like they were. Online you can find groups appropriate to your specific situation like she did.
The more you know about the conditions that have caused your loved one to need care the better you will be to deal with it. Most diseases and disabilities have hallmark symptoms and challenges. You can find this information online or by asking your doctor. As an example, if you are trying to help care for a person with a mental disorder such as depression, learning all you can about the symptoms and treatments can help you as you help them.
Don’t try to be perfect. Simply be present.
Even those professionally trained in personal care find caring for a loved one challenging. Each case is different just as everyone’s personality is unique. Instead of dwelling on mistakes you’ve made or things you aren’t doing well, remind yourself of the positives. You are committed to being a caregiver. You are doing the best job you know how. You are playing a vital role.
Use professional help and respite care.
Chances are that your community has individuals, care homes or facilities that can offer support and/or a greater level of care when the time comes. As an example, when we were caring for my father, at one point he was wheelchair bound and living in my sister’s home. She and her husband hired a part time care giver who came during the morning to bathe dad, do the laundry, change the sheets and fix lunch. It made a huge difference for everyone.
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Copyright Karen Barber 2020. All rights reserved.