One of those days/weeks. Caregiving for family member is an honor, rewarding and a challenge. It is a journey that we will all go through (caregiver and receiving care). You will sit in and move through every emotion, every day. These emotions include: happiness, joy, love, denial, frustration, lack of patience, anger, grief and more. It’s all here. This is an opportunity to be loving and present to your loved one/family and yourself.
Many ways to walk through this time of caregiving for a family member. I feel it is best to share caregiving with others as caregiving is very stressful and can be pretty much all consuming.
Things to practice are patience (or acceptance), stay neutral, don’t take anything personally, releasing emotions, laugh, and move on.
Patience has never been a quality I possess. The back door to patience is acceptance. I have no patience for “soon”, but I have learned to be open to acceptance. I can accept a situation in the now or current moment. One might need to accept for this moment, then the next moment, then the moment after that. Eventually, you pass through a situation with more joy, and it looks like patience to others.
Neutral is a good state to be in, if your emotions are getting charged (like increasing frustration or anger). Also think/feel how your family member feels as their independence and life slip away, they have the same feelings as you. These emotions are normal. At the same time, it’s not a good idea to dump them on your family.
How can you get to neutral? Good question. If emotions are becoming a big deal and disrupting the relationships, see a counselor. Everyone in this situation will experience the process of grieving. If your family member is in hospice, hospice can help during this entire process. Hospice provides grief counseling and spiritual assistance. Many hospices offer volunteers, massage, energy healing therapy (like Healing Touch or Reiki) music therapy as well as the medical support of nurses, aids, and therapy for safe ADL’s (activities of daily living). These options create space for the caregiver to do the things important to them.
Moving into neutral requires a decision and a commitment to not be attached to the outcome. Neutral emotions are the middle ground between positive and negative emotions. In Buddhism referred to “adukkhamasukh”. These mundane feels do not inflict pain or pleasure. Stepping out of strong negative emotions into neutral emotions creates space for us to make more loving choices.
To move into a neutral place, pick a practice to help. The practice of presence or mindfulness is useful. Others include tapping like EFT (emotional freedom technique), meditation, Emotion Code , breathe, saying a mantra (like “this shall pass”), and taking a needed break or time off. Another technique is acknowledging and label your emotions in a way to create space. If you label the thought and the separate feeling. This comes from Susan David in her book Emotional Agility. This might look like “your wrong and I’m getting angry” to “I have the thought that you are wrong and I am feeling angry”. Try this and see if it helps
Releasing emotions, allows them to move through you, not getting stuck and festering. Options to release emotions include talking and sorting them out with friend, pastor, coach, or counselor. You can write them down and then shred the paper. Try wringing a towel and vocalizing (in private). EFT is great for decreasing emotions and the feeling of being stuck. Try Healing Touch or other energy healing like Reiki. After get a massage, as that is always nice.
Don’t take things personally is a good practice in life. Many times we interpret words, body language as an affront towards us. It may well be or not. The fact is, someone’s feelings about you is no concern of yours. It is their opinion and current experience. How you respond to them is your concern. If you don’t take things personally, it will be easier to be neutral and loving.
Please, learn to laugh at our follies and move on. Find some humor: read the comics, watch a comedy movie, sit com’s, seek out jokes and more. These are great ways to re-frame and issue.
What do you do to help you re-frame and move into neutral?
Jeff, my brother-in-law, picked up some coffee mate at the store. He found Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer. I love this flavor in coffee and it is definitely seasonal. This product is back on the shelves and in my refrigerator. Today I have poured a cup of coffee with Peppermint Mocha Creamer. I am present to the warmth of the cup, the color of the coffee, the smell of the mint, the smoothness on the tongue, the taste in my mouth and a few moments of Ahhh!