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liseleblanc41 karma

Great question... Although we are sincere when we say, “Let me know if you need anything”, we have to also realize that the caregiver can be so overwhelmed that they don’t even know what they need. So if you’ve offered to help and they haven’t yet taken you up on your offer, take the initiative to check in by phone, by text or in person. Say things like: • I’m on my way to the grocery store. Do you need anything? • Can I bring you a coffee? • Any chance you’d want to get out for a walk?

In other words offer concrete support.

liseleblanc11 karma

Guilt is a big one! And the thing with guilt is that our family members and the people closest to us know exactly how to push our emotional buttons (consciously or subconsciously). I KNOW it is possible to have an honest conversation with them about how this is affecting you, and there are many key strategies in the Conscious Caregiving Guide to help you do this. Here is one key strategy... make it about you! Instead of saying things like "you make me feel guilty when you do... fill-in the blank), try using the O.P.E.N communication strategy. This communication strategy is aimed at giving you a new way to communicate so you can provide the best possible care and avoid the miscommunications that often result in guilt, frustration, or other emotions. In the OPEN communication strategy, the O stands for Observation, the P stands for Perception, the E stands for Emotion, and the N stands for Need.

So tell them what you're objectively observing, what your perception of it is, the emotion it's stirring in your and what you need in order to have a better connection with them.

Hope this helps!

liseleblanc9 karma

Take care of yourself NOW. There is a caveat to this though because I don’t think most people really know what taking care of themselves really means. As a therapist, I thought I knew all about “self-care,”, and when I was heading for a burnout, my initial response was to eat more spinach, do yoga, go to the gym more often, make an appointment for a massage, hair, nails because my understanding of self-care was simply to take more time to pamper myself. But it turned out these were just more things to do, more appointments, and more obligations. The typical methods of self-care were not working for me and were actually making things worse. Don't get me wrong, I think these strategies can be great and they can be helpful, but they often don't get to the core of why you're burning out in the first place. It's kinda like getting stabbed in the leg and putting a bandage over it without taking the knife out first. Or like being in a boat that is leaking and trying to bail it out with plugging the leak first. You'll still bleed out or sink!

liseleblanc8 karma

True self- care is about digging deeper to find the underlying reasons we are taking too much on, not asking for help, and not putting ourselves and our own needs as a priority. When we understand that we are often the ones setting ourselves up to be overwhelmed, overworked, overstressed, and UN-inspired, it is then that we can get serious about making positive changes in our lives. But this requires awareness, as well as discipline and commitment to doing things differently. We’re so used to our stressful mental patterns that we think what we’re thinking is all real. But I've learned that most of our problems are not “out there” in the world somewhere, they are right “here” between our two ears. So a KEY piece of advice that is often grossly underestimated is the value of doctoring our own thinking. When we start taking care of our minds, we correct our lives. So, in terms of concrete strategies, the Conscious Caregiving Guide is full of them, but I want to give you the most powerful one right now: 1. Get a good coach or counsellor that going to help you figure out the underlying reasons WHY you're heading towards a burnout. If you can't get a counsellor, find a brutally honest friend who you trust completely and who is outside of your caregiving situation and ask them if they would partner up with you to work on some self-care goals. The reason people can't do this one their own is because most of us are blind to our own dysfunctional patterns. For example, I used to think I had nothing to do with my problems. So when things got stressful, or I felt unhappy and dissatisfied with my life, I’d change jobs, change relationships, maybe even change cities, but before I knew it, I'd start having the same recurrent problems. Then I finally had a realization that I was the common denominator and if I didn’t change something, I would continue to re-create and re-live the same situations over and over again. Like the saying goes: If nothing changes, nothing changes. Your life become like the movie Groundhog Day. I don’t know about you, but for me, this was not working. I knew I had to start taking charge of my own mind and figuring out why I was setting myself up for stress and unhappiness. And I needed help doing that.

Great question, thank you!

liseleblanc8 karma

Even though you may not think you’re going to be a caregiver, based on the statistics (one in four people are providing informal, unpaid care to a family member or friend and that the number of seniors requiring care is set to double in the next 15 years), most us will be a caregiver at some point. This can happen at any age and stage of life so it is important that we plan and prepare for it.

I designed the Conscious Caregiving Guide as a step by step, easy to absorb plan for working through the illness of a loved one and tackling the caregiving role while staying happy and healthy along the way. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give a loved one is to show them you are still able to enjoy your life to the fullest while caring for them.