Caregiver Fatigue Posted on 25 Mar 09:13 , 0 comments
Do you know someone who is giving so much you wonder how they continue to sustain the giving? Maybe you have been that person. Maybe you are that person now.
The human spirit is able to endure incredible challenges and continue to shine. I have seen career and family caregivers sustained by their faith, hope, love and joy. Faith that they will have the strength to do what they need to do. Faith that there is a bigger picture than they can see right now. Faith, and hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, a better day ahead. And love, the energy and motivation that allows selfless service. Love allows people to go beyond themselves. When that love is flowing out more than in, selfless service quickly results in caregiver fatigue. The work depletes the giver, and loss of joy is often the cost for this depletion.
Do you know a person who is tireless, joyful, gentle, and kind? A person that makes everyone around them feel better. They have a special glow. Yes, they are human and have low moments, but most days they light up a room with their presence. These people are balm that heals body, mind and heart of those around them. These special people live in flow, and they work with joy. Joy is one feeling that springs up from feeling love flowing in, coming from a source beyond the individual self. They know the secret of participating in receiving a stream that flows through them, not from them. They move through their days feeling blessed. They look around their world and see things to appreciate everywhere.
If you or a loved one is giving to the point of fatigue, there is good news! By shifting focus from giving to receiving, we tap into something much bigger than ourselves. We remember we are not alone. It may be something as simple as remembering a friend cares about us. That seemingly small act of focus is like an in-breath. I am loved. Suddenly my fatigue seems lighter. Do this experiment to see how you respond when you feel “I am loved”. Take quick stock of how you are feeling – body, mind and heart. Then spend a minute or two imagining a feeling of being loved. Feel it with as much detail and intensity as you are able to bring to the experiment. Then do another quick inventory and see how you feel in your body, mind and heart. Did you move the dial up a notch on your overall sense of well-being? As simple as an in-breath, remembering we are loved feeds us. We have more energy, move vitality, and come into better balance as caregivers.
At Twirl, we remember the comfort received from a casserole lovingly delivered, or cookies taken to a new neighbor to welcome them. These gestures carry value greater than the physical gift offered. Involved in the exchange is a heartfelt giving that lets the recipient know they are cared for and thought about. When you send someone a gift from Twirl, send them a reminder of this little secret: the love you send with the gift flows through you, to them. The love (or well-wishes) nourishes you as you feel it, and them as they receive it. Then each moment spent in mindful focus increases the value of the gift received! The more we participate in the flow – both in and out - the more strength and ease we experience.
Take time each day to feel the flow of love and grace that is present each moment. It awaits your attention. Open your eyes to the beauty in nature. Open your heart to the energy that flows in when you remember that you are loved. As a caregiver, nourish first yourself. It is a simple as breathing in.