June 5, 2020
Times of crisis can sometimes bring out both the very best and the very worst in us as caregivers. During the coronavirus pandemic, we have come across stories of people hoarding products and selling them to make an outrageous profit, together with stories of people who selflessly met the needs of others despite their personal fears.
The key to weathering the storms (which are guaranteed to show up within our lives) is to learn caregiver coping skills. Mia Bartoletti, clinical psychologist for the Navy SEAL Foundation, works closely with families of individuals serving in the armed forces, and gives suggestions which can help improve resilience through any time of crisis.
- Convey your reactions. It is common to have an array of responses to a crisis: flashbacks to other challenging situations, dreams and nightmares, withdrawal and avoidance, issues with sleeping, irritability, problems with concentration and focus, and hypervigilance. What is essential is to ensure these reactions are temporary, and don’t progress into longer-term psychological problems. Recognize your feelings, and communicate them with a dependable confidante, or write them in a journal.
- Continue to keep social connections. While your reaction could be to pull away from friends and family during a crisis, keeping in touch on a routine basis with individuals you care about is important. Finding a support group, whether in person or online, is yet another great way to make sure you’re developing and maintaining social ties, helping you to speak with other individuals in the same circumstances.
- Take a moment for self-care. This means different things to every individual, but ought to include relaxing activities, engaging hobbies and interests, nourishing meals, lots of sleep, drinking enough water, and exercise. If you find it is hard to carve out time for yourself as a result of caregiving duties, Continuum, senior care in St. Louis, is always available to partner with you to provide trusted respite care. Looking after yourself lets you take better care of those you love.
- Realize what you can control – and what you cannot. Letting go of what is beyond 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’s always wise to seek professional counseling in the event your reactions to stressful circumstances are impeding your ability to maintain a feeling of calm and also to tend to the necessary day to day activities of living. And, watch for signs that senior loved ones are feeling excessive degrees of stress so that you can obtain the help that they need as well.
Be aware that regardless of what life may bring, you can depend on Continuum to walk beside you with trustworthy, knowledgeable aging care services that help family caregivers cope and inspire seniors to remain resilient and independent. Contact us to find out more.