Cracking the Caregiving Code

You are standing in unfamiliar territory. The rush of emotions scatters your thoughts. Unanswered questions whirl around in your mind. The next decision could be one step in the wrong direction. Where will it lead? As a caregiver, you feel every emotion possible. At times, multiple at once. You are bombarded by decisions and opinions from friends, family, and acquaintances. Complicating things is the fact that everyone’s opinions are different. The first step in caregiving is to trust yourself. Accept the realization that no answer is right or wrong. You make the best decision with the information you have today. Tomorrow you may change your mind, but you didn’t make a mistake. Your information changed. You’re in uncharted territory. Others have traveled similar parts, but it wasn’t your path. Others have made similar decisions, but they weren’t your decisions.

A miner deep in the caverns of the earth where the impenetrable darkness abides uses a single light to breach the darkness. If the light fails, the darkness overpowers. A single rope brings a sigh of relief. This is known as the lifeline. It’s the guide from the deep dark cavern to the surface. The lifeline leads to a place of familiarity and clarity where the miner can depend on the natural eye to be the guide.

As a caregiver, you need to keep your light maintained and operating. The light it you. You also need a lifeline for yourself when the single light is not sufficient. What can you do to keep your single light shining? What builds your battery and gives you energy? Is it a hot cup of tea and reading a devotional? Is it talking to a friend on the phone? Is it a swim or a hike? Whatever it may be, you must charge your batteries daily. Take a deep breath, count to 10, you’ve got this. Taking the time for yourself as a caregiver is a selfless act. It allows you to lead and guide those depending on you.

If you need a little more structure, try a relaxation app on your phone. Some free apps that offer guided meditation, inspiring images, and music include:

Is your lifeline in place? Have you walked the lifeline regularly to ensure it doesn’t have weak or broken areas? How tragic for the single light to grow dim, to reach for the lifeline and it’s lying on the ground disconnected from the outside world. It’s so easy as a caregiver to isolate yourself. After all, you don’t have time for one more thing in your life. As a caregiver, it’s hard to admit you need help and easy to believe you are in this alone and that no one understands. It’s true others don’t understand. You have to connect, share, and be honest about what you need. Stay connected with your lifeline. Have a Plan B for when Plan A (you) grows weak.

If you are interested in joining one of our Caregiver Support Groups, click the button below to contact the community nearest you.