Times of uncertainty, like the one we’re in right now, create feelings of fear, panic, anxiety, anger, sadness and a slew of others that can be all thrown into the category of: “Nope, I don’t like this one bit”. All of those emotions are compounded when you’re a Caregiver, because you have two other major components: pressure and guilt…which is pretty much like adding gasoline to the already raging brush fire!
So how do we manage all of these heightened feelings? It starts with looking inward. It takes the same discipline and practice as any other skill you’ve tried to master. The good news? With enough effort and focus, you can re-align your mindset even in the hardest of times to feel healthier and happier. Here’s how:
In times of uncertainty and fear, finding positivity can be so difficult, but it’s essential and takes diligence. How, you might ask? 1. Create a routine – It’s been proven that having a routine can drastically help carry you through a day in which you’re not feeling very positive. Accomplishing your routine (morning ritual, daily prayer, exercise, etc.) will naturally give you a boost! 2. Start a gratitude journal – write down a few things that you’re grateful for every day (hey look, here’s a routine!). Being grateful isn’t about ignoring realities, it’s about taking the spotlight from shining on the negatives, to the daily positives in your life. Try to remember that everything happens for you, not to you. This is sometimes hard to do, but if you can make a mindset shift, you will find yourself over time seeking out positive things and situations, rather than negative ones.
According to Helen Riess, M.D., “Self-awareness means recognizing your own emotions. Before springing into action, you must first assess your own mental state so you can manage them.” It’s understanding your tendencies, patterns and feelings so you can work through them and even better, anticipate them coming. Sounds great, right? It is….but it aint always pretty. It means admitting truths about yourself and your habits. We suggest starting with a personality test to get a better, non-biased snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses. Our favorite is The Enneagram. Check out www.enneagraminstitute.com
When we’re vulnerable, we are in a state of being open or exposed and this offers up the possibility of judgement or attack. But in your authentic state, you’re naturally more at ease. In the words of Brene Brown, “(this) is a massive experiment in collective vulnerability. We can be our worst selves when we’re afraid, or our very best, bravest selves. In the context of fear and vulnerability, there is often very little in between because when we are uncertain and afraid our default is self-protection. We don’t have to be scary when we’re scared. Let’s choose awkward, brave and kind. And let’s choose each other.”
Which leads us to empathy. In times of uncertainty, empathy is critical to staying calm, steady and decisive…and all are such important traits, especially for Caregivers. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. During times of crisis, people just want to be “seen”, and it’s important that we take time to try and understand individuals and where they are coming from. Not only does this help us realize that we are all more similar than different, it also allows us to have self-empathy and give ourselves the grace we need.
From our family to yours, we’re sending love, light and strength!