How to Find Resilience in a Time of Crisis as a Family Caregiver
Times of crisis can bring out the best together with the worst in us. During the coronavirus pandemic, we have heard stories of individuals hoarding items and selling them to make an outrageous profit, coupled with stories of people who selflessly met the needs of others despite their personal fears.
The key to weathering the storms as a family caregiver in a healthy and balanced way is resiliency. Mia Bartoletti, clinical psychologist for the Navy SEAL Foundation, works jointly with families of individuals serving in the armed forces, and offers recommendations which will help build resilience through any time of crisis.
Discuss your reactions. It is normal to experience various responses to a crisis: flashbacks to other overwhelming situations, dreams and nightmares, withdrawal and avoidance, issues with sleeping, irritability, problems with focus and concentration, and hypervigilance. What is crucial is to make sure these reactions are temporary, and do not advance into long-term psychological problems. Accept your feelings, and share them with a dependable friend, or write them in a diary.
Continue to keep social connections. While your instinct may be to pull away from friends and relatives during a crisis, staying in touch on a frequent basis with those you care about is important. Finding a support group, whether in person or online, is another great way to ensure you are forming and preserving social ties, letting you talk with others in the same circumstances.
Take some time for self-care. This means something different to each individual, but ought to include relaxing activities, engaging hobbies and interests, healthy meals, plenty of sleep, and physical activity. If you discover that it is hard to carve out self-care time for yourself as a result of caregiving duties, Midnight Sun Home Care is always here to partner with you to offer trustworthy respite care. Taking good care of yourself allows you to take better care of those you love.
Recognize what you can control – and that which you cannot. Letting go of what's out of your control and focusing instead on what you CAN control is one of the fundamentals of resilience. Psychologist Mary Alvord, who founded Resilience Across Borders, explains, “Depression is hopelessness and helplessness, and so resilience is the opposite. No, you’re not helpless; you do have control over many aspects of your life.”
It is always a wise idea to seek professional counseling in the event your responses to stressful conditions are impeding your ability to maintain a sense of calm and to tend to the essential daily activities of living. And, look for signs that older family members are going through excessive quantities of stress so that you can obtain the help that they need also.