Day 9 of 30 in Family Caregiver Series
The 3 C’s that make all the difference:
Communication with SELF
We are in day 9 of our 30-day family caregiver series on family advocacy. In the spirit of giving support and advice for caregivers, throughout this series, you will have the tools, checklists, and information needed to effective serve as a loved one’s advocate. We kicked off this series with a top 10 list of what is means to be an effective advocate. (Day 1) then, I gave you 3 reasons why advocacy is a big deal (Day 2). Then, I shared the ultimate guide to staying organized; (Day 3). I showed you ways to be an advocate and affirmed that sometimes it’s okay to upset the applecart on (Day 4). We covered the four things our lives depend on in (Day 5). Then, we tackled self-care and advocacy (Day 6). Next, we discussed Frustration, Guilt and Overwhelm (Day 7). Then, we discussed communication with family and the importance of asking for what you want and need. I also shared some specific things others can help with as an idea of ways to get support (Day 8).
If you are an advocate or know someone who is an advocate, this is for you. If you anticipate you will make health care decisions for a loved one, this is also for you.Click to tweet If you would like to avoid the care giving mistakes I made, this is definitely for you. Lastly, this is for you if you think you may need care one day.
Communication with Medical Team SELF (Day 9)
Communication with Loved One (Day 10)
Part 5: The surprising truth about who needs an advocate (Day 11-13)
Part 6: 5 ways you must keep your loved ones safe (Day 14-18)
Part 7: What? I have how much time to decide where they go? (Day 19 – 30)
Communication Communication Communication
Day 9: Communication with Medical Team SELF
We don’t know what we don’t know until we know we don’t know it
I’ve written articles about communicating with medical professionals and the importance of this when working on behalf of your loved ones. I’ll talk more about this throughout this series. I thought one of the best C’s that truly makes all the difference in LIFE is communication with self. It’s about your relationship with yourself. It’s about your self-talk. It’s about how effectively you care for yourself when caring for others. Like it or not, the level of care you give is directly proportional to the care you give YOURSELF. Think of it as effective LIFE CARE. Some things to remember about self-talk:
- What you focus on persists. However you constantly talk, think and act is what you attract more of. Focus carefully.
- Bridge the gap between wanting and having. Wanting will keep you in a state of ‘wanting’. Use words like: more and more, xxx or xxx is coming to me now. One phrase I used a lot was: Peace of mind is coming to me now in perfect waysJ
- Whatever you do, be grateful for the little things every single day. Sometimes, it can be hard to find things to be grateful for. Do it anyway. Evoke the emotion of what it feels like to BE grateful.
Here are some needs of family caregivers and some ideas to help with this vital area:
Emotional needs of family caregivers
- Take time to relax and learn how to regulate yourself and de-stress when you feel overwhelmed.
- Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps release things that no longer serve you and help to keep things in perspective.
- Feed your mind and spirit. Pray, meditate, or do another activity that makes you feel part of something greater than yourself. When I became a family caregiver for my parents, I found the meaning in the experience. This helped a lot. I will say that it didn’t happen overnight. At the end of the day, it’s about expressing unconditional love and being there for those you love.
Logically, we know taking care of ourselves is a MUST before we can take care of others, yet; perceived emotional and survival needs sometimes prevail, causing everything & everyone else to come first. Here’s a surprise gift from me to you. Enjoy:-)
Social & recreational needs of family caregivers
- Stay social. Nurture your close relationships. It is easy to let yourself become isolated. I was fortunate that I had a few friends who made it a point to make sure I got out once in awhile!
- Evoke more fun and laughter into your everyday life. Whether it’s watching funny movies, videos or anything else that makes you laugh, make time for it. Heck, make it a family event!
- Give yourself a break. Take regular breaks from caregiving, and give yourself an extended break at least once a week. I realize this is sometimes difficult. Do your best to find some kind of respite care. When I didn’t do this for months on end, everyone suffered. Can we say, ‘if the mamma and caregiver ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!?!”
Physical needs of family caregivers
- Exercise regularly. Try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress and boost your energy. I recognize how difficult this is. I really do. Do it anyway. Start with 5 minutes a day. Anything helps.
- Eat right. We all know the importance eating right has on our lives. Nuff said.
MOST OF ALL… know, feel and believe that EVERYTHING you are feeling is completely normal. You are not a bad person for thinking non-loving thoughts at times. You are a champion. You are a rock star. You are demonstrating courageous acts of unconditional love. Know you are not alone.
Next up: Communication with Loved One.
Your Turn: Are you or have you been a family care giving advocate? What resources did you use to help guide you in this role? What would you ask someone to help you with in this role? What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being a caregiver? Please comment below!
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