A caregiver is anyone that provides help to another person in need.
Being a caregiver is rewarding, and stressful, and it's important to recognize that people in these roles need to feel supported as well.
Caregiver stress can make one vulnerable to changes in their own emotional and physical well-being. The attached article offers some strategies for dealing with caregiver stress:
Focus on what you are able to provide.
Set realistic goals.
Join a support group.
Seek social support.
Set personal health goals.
See your doctor.
If you are a caregiver, please ask for help, and if you know a caregiver, please ask them how they are doing today and how you can best support their needs.
It's the holidays....time to be festive and jolly?
For those in the grief world, this is not the time for joy and festivities.
Grief can come in many forms due to many differing circumstances. Whatever is the cause of your grief, please be gentle with yourself and with those you love.
In this article about grief and the holidays it states one of the most common questions that is posed from grievers during this time of year, "how should we handle tradition"?
"When you engage in ritual solely because it’s the way things have always been and to no one’s benefit, it begins to unravel and turn into something meaningless and obligatory". However, holiday traditions and rituals is often what binds you and your loved ones together.
With this in mind, make space this holiday to keep traditions that comfort you, but be willing to accept the desire to offer something different than in the past.
Ms. Haley shares the following tips:
Small rituals are just as important as larger, and they may be easier to continue.
Traditions do not have to be perfect, and you do not have to prove to yourself/others that you are ok, despite the difficulties.
Do not compare past holidays and acknowledge a lot has changed and your holiday won't be the same.
Recreate and Redefine meaning in every day life, and find with traditions bring comfort.
Change is ok, and it doesn't have to be permanent, and if you want to reinstate traditions in the future, thats ok too.
This is an opportunity to find lasting ways to remember and to integrate your loved one into your holiday.
Although this article was written in 2020, it is still appropriate today.
Ms. McDowell states she doesn't want to be a "downer"....and I do not think she is because she is writing about the reality of the pandemic of 2020. One year later, and we are still facing the pandemic, illness, deaths, isolation, frustration, homelessness, addictions, financial struggles and natural disasters, and the list could go on!
As difficult as these things are, it's even more important to do what we can, and that is to recognize and acknowledge the ache and the hardship others may be experiencing.
See it. Recognize it. Share that you care. Give compassion and be very generous with it.
This is the small, but mighty way, we can bring some light to many that are hurting.
There is so much going on in the world right now...
Covid, accidents, illnesses, natural disasters, etc. that it's a reminder that more and more people are facing sudden hardship, and in some cases, anticipated or long term hardship.
With the differing events and circumstances swirling around, it is natural that many are having a hard time, and often, we want to cheer others up or get them to look on the bright side of life.
However, in this Option B article, it states that the simple act of reaching out and listening, can help.
Here's a few of the suggestions:
Start a dialogue about what your loved one is experiencing.
Reach out - even if you are nervous. This helps others to feel less isolated.
Let them set the time, place and tone. This is their journey.
Ask questions, and follow-up questions (open ended questions are best).
Listen without trying to fix the problem, and instead acknowledge what they're going through.
Help them to identify their coping strategies which help them to rediscover that they are capable.
Continue to keep checking in, while encouraging them to continue to share what they are feeling without any judgement.
One of the hardest things to do for others is to be there for them in a nonjudgmental way and with compassion.
Responding compassionately to someones suffering can be confusing. We often do not know what to do or to say.
When we care for someone, it is difficult to witness their sadness, anger, confusing or depression. We often look for ways to offer solutions, thinking this will help.
However, when someone is suffering, the most important thing is to simply acknowledge what they are going through. Letting them know they are not alone and understanding that it is not our job to fix or make it better for others.
There are a few tips from the following article, that I find helpful, and they are:
Don't force someone to move on too soon.
Don't give advice or discount the feelings.
Don't compare pain and give ideas on what worked for you.
Don't tell someone it's time to move on, or to get over it.
Don't trivialize or diminish another pain by comparing.
Here's a list of some compassionate responses in this article:
Ask how others feel, today.
Validating another pain.
Share their own reactions with their words.
Create a safe place for one's pain.
Offer "specific" support.
In the end, we all want our suffering to be witnessed, not fixed.
The best gift we can give those we love, is to be emotionally present for them when they are in emotional turmoil.
It is easy to get caught up in what the holidays "should look like".....festivities, fun, celebrations, joy etc. However, if you have a loved one that is ill, the holidays may not be so fun.
This article is a good reminder of what the holidays truly are meant to be ~ a time to reflect, ability be with loved ones, celebrating and cherishing the moments of love.
For those that are ill, facing tragedy or facing death, the holidays is simply about what is meaningful - being together, supporting and loving each other (even if we have to do it remotely).
Here are snippets from this article:
Modify expectations and traditions
Bring the holidays to your loved ones, if possible.
Don't over do it. Allow time to be present.
Enjoy the sounds of the season.
Share family memories and stories.