It turns out that when life is hard (and our world currently is giving us loads of hard on so many levels), the counterintuitive thing might be the best thing.
In the hard, sad, hopeless, helpless, scary, frustrating, wrong, deplorable, unethical, we can feel so overwhelmed with feelings that we cannot do anything to change things. Right now feeling anxious is a normal reaction to these unbearably abnormal situations. So what do we do.
Well, sometimes having fun, moving our bodies and relying on whatever higher power we believe in can be the antidote.
As family caregivers, you’re enduring and persevering all of the above in addition to the ironman marathon of caregiving a loved one. That is extraordinarily challenging. And calls for EXTREME SELF CARE.
On my bike ride this week, I found freedom from the despair, sadness, anger, overwhelm, fear, etc. by enjoying bicycle riding. Here are the pieces that helped me on my lovely ride and I hope some might help you. Take what works and as always, leave the rest.
- Physical Activity that gives me joy.
- Conscious gratitude for everything (seeing, moving, breathing, safety, clean air, clean water) while riding.
- Stopping to watch bald eagles – (3 showed up on my one hour ride).
- Asking power greater than me to have my back and to hold our world safely from harm.
- Allowing the suffering to leave my body.
- Remembering the feeling of having my own bike for the first time and feeling the freedom.
- Taking photos (I don’t like “fotos” but it worked for the alliteration in the title, so yeah). 🙂
After this bike ride, my day was so much lighter, easier, more joyful and less filled with dread. I wish it was a one and done thing but we need to practice each day and it takes being conscious and not just living from one crisis to the next. Easier said than done for sure.
If you missed my June 11 blog/newsletter about fun, you can check it out here. Our weekly caregiver support group recently discussed the role of “fun” in the life of a caregiver. We can’t do it alone.
The evidence I see when parents and other family caregivers have the support of a community who relates to their lived experience is profound in helping them to grow and have hope.
The reality is that it can be counterintuitive, guilt inducing, hard and downright tricky to have fun when you’re trying to support a loved one in a health crisis. So when someone suggests the concept of trying to consider adding in fun…well, it can seem like a random, pointless and rude and even disrespectful idea on the surface. Impossible even.
Caregivers find that balancing what is possible and what is necessary is a regular task. It’s not always appropriate or possible to have fun.
And, when caregivers are able to find the time, energy, motivation and other resources needed to have fun, the results can produce ripples like a pebble being dropped into a pool of still water.
Fun can lead to joy and more joy increases resilience. And one thing caregivers need in vast amounts is resilience. For more on joy and resilience, check out these resources at The Resilience Center.
To learn more about our Monthly free group support and/or the weekly low cost group support, you can read more on my website.