As a carer there have been many times when everything just seems to go wrong. You loose faith not only in yourself, but in everything around you. I remember when trying to care for someone, it felt that everything I used to do was just thrown back in my face, even though I knew I was trying my best, but just when something was just beginning to settle, something else would go wrong, then something else and another and eventually I would withdraw into a dark place.
But what happens if I withdraw to a dark place for too long? What happens if all carers did this?
Well I can tell you, it is possible that you could loose your mind, you could end up being depressed, angry or even worse. It is so important to realise when you are entering such a period. Carers who care under difficult circumstances can be very fragile, even when they do not show this. One day a carer may hide their
pain with a series of smiles and laughter, but when alone all that is left is perhaps fear, pain or worry. So what can you do when your world begins to collapse on you and your faith is beginning to fail?
I have listed some steps that may or may not help your situation, I cannot say that they will solve your problems, but they will at least be a light on the road of a carers journey.
1. Every bad situation in life is temporary.
Whatever you are going through, nothing in life is permanent, even though the good things in life must move on, so is it the same for the bad things as well. As with the saying “Happiness succeeds sadness succeeds happiness”.
The horrible bad luck or failing care you are experiencing will move on, you just have to hang in there and realize this. You are so close to the day when things will settle and the storm will pass, but remember that storm will come again and surviving the current storm will give you the mental and emotional toughness to survive.
2. Worrying, moaning and complaining will not change anything.Embed from Getty Images
To be honest, this is the hardest thing for a carer to do. Secretly inside, I probably moan and groan about my situation as a carer, I won’t lie. Why should I?
The truth is my moaning will not change what has happened. I think it is fair to say when can get upset for a bit, its human nature, but to continue to moan and worry will just send you into a cycle and the worse the cycle gets, the more you risk your own mental health. Pause for a moment when you feel a complaint coming on, think to yourself “Is this going to change my situation?”. Obviously it wont.
3. The best thing you can do is to keep going.Embed from Getty Images
While providing care and things seem to fall apart, it is ok to take a step back a bit and rest to get your energy back, but once you have recovered, you should try and keep going, not just for whoever you are providing the care for, but also keep moving for yourself. Avoid giving up, you must fight for yourself and
who you care for. They mean so much to you and you are fulfilling your role. There is a reason you are caring and if something goes wrong, it is a test of your faith.
4. You can’t change things that have happened to you but you can choose the way you feel about them.Embed from Getty Images
Even though the statement is a long one, it makes sense. We are thinking animals, we think about everything.
We think about how people feel about us, we think about the past and future, heck we think about thinking. So what happens if you constantly think about the bad things that has happened? Nothing much, you may end up putting something into perspective, but there will come a time when you have to change your outlook, you have to combat your worry or fear, but thinking alone will not change this. You have a choice, you need to look at the choice which will give you the positive outlook.
5. Stay in the present moment and live life fully.Embed from Getty Images
When we are hit by bad luck or misfortune from all sides, its so easy to keep looking back at that episode to the point where you are almost living in the past. Sometimes something traumatic cannot be easily avoided, but it goes without saying that if you can use a word or thought to take you to the present, then
you can heal a lot more quickly, you will not become what is some form of ‘ghost’. Your memories will not haunt you and you can leave in the present and look to change things. The present is where the power is, you need to learn to use it.
6. Reassure Yourself or check yourselfEmbed from Getty Images
When you are hit with worse situations and everything seems to fall apart, then stop and look at yourself, pause for thought and reassure yourself. Check that you are here and notice that this is just a setback, you will succeed one day and to do this you need to check yourself for negativity and combat the habit.
7. Talk to someoneEmbed from Getty Images
This is one of the easiest things to do and this is when you know how important friends or families are. Do not feel you have to cope with things by yourself, we are never alone, it just depends who is there for us to reach out to. If no one is close to us, then the Samaritans (UK) are just a phone call away and carers can
also make use of carer’s groups or carer centres within their borough. Make sure whoever you talk to is something that you can trust with your fears.
8. Get the right people to help you.Embed from Getty Images
Be it professionals or support, you need someone specialized who can assist you with what to do when problems begin to happen when you are providing carer. You need to recognise who they are, especially if you are caring for someone who is suffering mental health difficulties. This might be a carers lead, or your caree’s care co-ordinator, you may wish to speak to a mental health advocate or speak to someone at a carers center.
The point is that to make sure you do not have to fight alone. Feel free to check my links page for more information.
9. Do somethingEmbed from Getty Images
Something that is not as easy as it sounds, some things when a carers world falls apart, we tend to just fall back and wait. Us carers can sometimes wait until something else happens and if we are lucky, that something might be good, but usually it could also be worse and thats when we should have done something about our previous situation. Do not put it off till the last moment, do something about it.
Or otherwise “Doing something” could also mean take time out, do something you enjoy, do not just sit there feeling hopeless, get yourself out of the situation if only for a while, but do something to take your mind off what is bothering you.
10. what is there to learn from it?Embed from Getty Images
In life there is a lesson for everything, most times we do not even notice the lesson, but when bad things happen, then its time to do a bit of learning. You know the saying? “We learn little from success, but much from failure?”. Well this is the perfect time to find out what there is to learn. I suspect the lesson may not show itself so easily, but rest assured it is there to learn from.
11. Start off every day with something positive
As soon as you wake up, and i MEAN as soon as you get up from your sleep. Think positively!! You may not believe it, but it will make some difference to your day. It might be like
* That was a nice sleep
* Today looks like my situation will improve
* I am glad to be alive
* I know I am going to make a difference today
….and so on.
You know the reason why you are here today and there are so many reasons, you are there to help those you love, even though someone you try to help may push you away.
I keep coming out with certain sayings, but here is another. “If you cannot be with the one you love, then love the one your with”. Everything has a positive spin on it and as you can see that the idea of being positive is that the person you should love first……..is yourself.
12. Try to do something nice for someone worse off than you areEmbed from Getty Images
It might not seem like it at the time, but think of it like this. How are you reading this blog? Is it from a computer? phone? tablet? Then you are one of the lucky ones, you have technology or the resources for reading something that might help you.
There are those out there who are without a such things, they might not even have material possessions or are suffering physical problems, they may lack the basic things like food and so on. Its not best to rate or compare yourself with others, but out there someone could always use your fortune. We won’t all be rich or famous, but we all have our unique talents and there is always someone out there who would be happy to swap places with us. Perhaps do something nice for them.
13. Don’t beat yourself up.Embed from Getty Images
Not the most easiest thing to do. In fact, I am going to disagree with myself. I actually feel it is ok to beat yourself up every so often, but do not fall into the trap where you are constantly doing this. Why make yourself your own worst enemy?
It is hard to control misfortune and you need not blame yourself over things that could be quite possibly out of your control. As in the carers world, beating yourself up over providing care to someone whose health is failing cannot possible help in your role. You are not to blame yourself and you deserve to treat yourself better.
14. Don’t over react to trivial happenings.Embed from Getty Images
Ok, not everything is trivial, but most things are when you stand back and look at the situation. What makes the difference is how we react to trivial happenings and this is what I call the slippery slope. All it takes is for something major to happen and then you will get upset by this and before long everything begins to upset you, which turns you into one negative person.
We must realize what is major and what is so trivial that it should not request all your energy wasting time being upset over it.
15. Laugh It UpEmbed from Getty Images
This does work, but how to laugh is not so easy, but once you laugh it can provide you with many health benefits; be them emotional, mental and even physical.
I do not really have to prove that happier people tend to live longer, so try to find a way to laugh about the situation (depending on what it is).
16. Don’t Give UpEmbed from Getty Images
I probably have mentioned this before, but as a carer it is so important not to give up. You are not only caring for someone, but perhaps fighting their corner and your own as well.
It is ok to rest for a bit, but stay optimistic, stay in the fight, do not give up. If things go wrong, rest for a bit, but do not give up. There is a reason you are doing this role.
17. Focus on One ThingEmbed from Getty Images
It is easy to focus on many bad things that have happened on your caring role, but if you do that you will become overwhelmed and risk making yourself ill. One thing at a time is the best way. Start with the simplest and move on to more difficult task, but concentrate on that one thing that might have fallen apart.
18. Focus on your good qualities and give yourself a pat on the back.
We all have them. YES! we ALL have them, what is yours? Are you someone who is there to care no matter what? Are you the person to ask for advice? Have you been caring for a very long time? Maybe you are the only person in the family to still be there to care? Well these are all good qualities and if you are hit with bad luck or failures, then remember your qualities. You are a fighter!!
19. Have faith in yourself.Embed from Getty Images
I mentioned how faith is important for carers a while ago. Still you can put your faith in anything, but putting faith in yourself, is one of the most important things a carer or someone can do. Without this then its so hard to do anything let alone surviving bad misfortune. Check out my post on faith.
20. Focus on the solution instead of the problemEmbed from Getty Images
Its so easy to focus on the problems, maybe we all do this out of habit, perhaps this is human nature, but what would happen if we decided to focus on the solution? Wouldn’t that be amazing? Perhaps write down a list of problems you have been having and next to that list write down the solutions. Just take time to do this and see where things go.
21. See problems as challenges and opportunities.
You are on your journey as a carer and this journey is not a straight road, its a journey where the road bends, twists and turns and sometimes disappears off the path completely. This means the journey as a carer is a challenge. You have your own path to take, your own path to live and no one’s path is the same, but we cannot easily walk someone else’s journey because we are all unique in this world. As a carer this problem is a challenge its up for the test.
22. Say “I can” more often that “I can’t”
This is another human condition. I bet as a carer you probably think this in your mind more often than you know and thats ok, but now that you may realize this, what happens if you can say just for once “I can”. Say it out now, don’t think it. Just say it out. Then say it again…..
Its so easy isn’t it.
So what happens if you say this more often? What happens if you think this more often? Try get into the habit, because it is a very good habit to make
23. Choose positive-thinking friends.Embed from Getty Images
We are what we eat and thus we are who we surround ourselves with. No, you do not need “Yes men!”, you want people to know what you have been through and to raise us up. You want to avoid those that complain about everything and its not so easy when providing care to someone who may do this, but that does not mean you have to desert who you care for, what you want, what you need are friends who at least at some point give you a positive outlook.
24. Read inspiring stories/quotes,
This is something you are doing already and I hope it is having an affect, but why stop at this blog? You might want to check out my pinterest section, which is full of positive quotes and sayings. Reading positive quotes is a sure fire way to get yourself thinking positive about certain situations, even if those situations do not change so quickly.
25. Repeat affirmations that inspire you and motivate you.
I hear this is not so easy to do and might not often work, but there will be a time when this might be all you have left. A carers path can often reach a dead end and you might loose faith in yourself, if there is one thing you can try is to repeat to yourself how important you are to be here right not and carrying out a family duty, a caring duty and being there for your loved one.
26. Learn to master your thoughts.Embed from Getty Images
This is the most hardest of the lot, which is probably why I left this one for last. We as humans have a habit of cycling things through our minds and its so easy to cycle the negative thoughts. We need to change our pattern and its not something I can easily explain in this blog, but I promise if you can master your thoughts then it will make your role a lot easier, especially when things outside your control begin to test you.