It is a 24-hour, seven day a week commitment to be there for someone who needs help taking care of themselves.
National Family Caregivers Month recognizes those using all the time and effort they can to assist the elderly, the sick, and those with challenges who just may happen to be their loved ones.
The current coronavirus pandemic has only made these stressors worse, both for those in need of care and for the caregiver. In addition to immediate concerns for health and safety, we have lost our ability to perform daily routines and tasks without fear or worry. For many, this loss of normalcy has created an overwhelming feeling of stress, anxiety, and grief.
For this post, I want to recognize the wellness and self-care or those caregivers. You cannot give from an empty cup.
How full is your cup right now?
Have you been telling yourself that you are just fine, because you’re used to being busy, putting others ahead of yourself… dancing on the edge of exhaustion without knowing it?
Is your body or mind trying to get your attention?
Surveying information out there, I have come across some tips you can use to help address the burnout you might be facing. Here are some presented by Scott Berinato wrote an article on this topic titled “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief.” He described the grief we are collectively experiencing this way: “We feel the world has changed, and it has. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different Here are several suggestions you may consider trying.
“Find balance in the things you’re thinking”
Balance worst case scenarios with scenarios that are not so dire. If you are thinking of something awful happening, try to imagine something good happening as well. Remember: both the bad scenarios and the good are possible.
“Come into the present”
Try naming objects in the room or finding items in the room that are a certain color or tuning into the five senses and stopping to breathe. This practice can help “ground” you when moments might feel especially challenging or difficult.
“Let go of what you can’t control”
Focus on what you can control. For example, let go of what your neighbor is doing and focus more on what you can do to stop the spread.
“Stock up on compassion”
Practice understanding when people aren’t acting like themselves. Everyone is stressed and people may respond to stressors (or day-to-day interactions) with less patience and more fear than usual.
“Become okay with feeling our feelings”
If you feel sad, stay with it, let the feeling come and go on its own. “Let yourself feel grief and keep going;” “emotions need motion.” It’s okay and normal for feelings to come and go.
Self-care is vital for building resilience toward those stressors in life that you can’t eliminate. When you’ve taken steps to care for your mind and body, you’ll be better equipped to serve others. It’s important to assess how you’re caring for yourself in several different domains so you can ensure you’re caring for your mind, body, and spirit.
Cultivate the habit of checking how full your cup really is. You might be surprised by how low your reserves have gotten—far better to realize and remedy this now, than later.
Those that you care for will be the beneficiaries.