Constructing resilience: The importance of a self-care practice
However the world of the caregiver needn’t be all doom and gloom. There could also be no magic bullet, but there may be plenty we will do to make our lives easier and relieve stress. Step one is to acknowledge the issue, and the second step is to cope with it. Winston Churchill famously said: “We’re still masters of our fate. We still are captains of our souls.” Less famously, I say: Don’t let your beloved’s chronic pain turn into your chronic stress.
As caregivers, we want a technique to cope with our own emotional stress. No strategy is ideal, so we must select the strategy that works for us. It will possibly be multiple strategies, but lack of motion will not be an option. We must maintain ourselves if we wish to maintain our family members.
What works for you? There are countless programs, roadmaps, workshops, webinars, books, and TED Talks. What do you select? My tip is search for solutions that you like doing. Do you want meditation, yoga, and mindfulness, or do you like mountaineering, mountain climbing, and biking? Do you like to read books, take heed to podcasts, or binge-watch Netflix? Select whatever will make it easier to lower your stress and strengthen your resilience.
U.S. Pain’s recent survey asked what activities caregivers do to ensure that they maintain themselves. Probably the most common responses included: participating in hobbies similar to gardening or crossword puzzles (56%), exercise/sports (53%), proper nutrition (39%), socializing (38%), and spirituality (35%).
Resilience is a much-used term, and it has different meanings for soldiers, psychiatrists, and philosophers. For our purpose as caregivers, resilience includes self-care and has 4 principal components: regular physical activity, healthy eating, energetic leisure, and adequate sleep. It might sound obvious, but caregiving is extremely demanding work, in order caregivers we want time to recuperate. This will not be a luxury: it’s a necessity. As they are saying, a automotive won’t run if there is no such thing as a gas within the tank.
Along with strengthening our resilience, it is vital to acknowledge our limits and do a reality check of our personal situation. Most of us don’t possess superpowers, so we must acknowledge and accept our potential for caregiver burnout. We must accept that our lives have modified, adapt to those changes, and set realistic, achievable goals. It might be uncomfortable, but we must always accept that we might have help. Where possible, we must always turn to others to handle some tasks. When possible, we must always find someone we trust, similar to a friend, relative, co-worker, or neighbor, to debate how we feel. We will’t do all of it on our own.
Finding community: Gaining comfort from others who understand
Finally, one of the best advice could also be to hunt support from our peers—other caregivers. The U.S. Pain Foundation hosts a free monthly support group for caregivers or care partners of people living with chronic pain. Facilitated by trained leaders, one in every of whom is me, participants share details about their experiences and in addition to personal recommendations on how you can cope with the hardest issues, spanning the entire range from managing doctors’ visits, to coping with isolation, to suicidal ideation. These support groups provide a haven for sharing feelings, learning to regulate to our modified lives, and discussing coping mechanisms. Every month, a special topic is chosen, and everybody attending has the chance to speak. Our mission is to offer a transparent structure and purpose… and isn’t that precisely what caregivers need?
-Malcolm Herman, Director NCCPPP, Co-facilitator Caregivers/Care Partners Support Group, U.S. Pain Foundation
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