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The definition of resilience is adapting and responding positively to stress and misfortune. Resilience isn’t an empty idea: individuals can and do respond differently to the challenges of life. This is particularly relevant to those who support others in the role as a care-giver – whether as a therapist, doctor, nurse, looking after elderly parents, looking after sick children, or just being a friend to someone in need. Resilience is an acquired skill. So how do you make sure you come out on top?
Here are some guidelines to building resilience:
1. Let yourself feel lousy occasionally. True resilience doesn’t mean you never get discouraged. If you never encounter painful struggle, you never get to discover your resilience. This is why pain is almost universal among the resilient - it happens. Resilience isn’t about masking your pain and pretending everything is fine - you’re human, not a machine. In short, what matters isn’t how you feel in the moment, it’s that you overcome it and stand back up.
2. Know that you’re the only one who can control your fate. Take decisive action. It’s tempting to use fate as an excuse for your future but take control as best you can.
3. Keep yourself value-centred. It’s all fine and good to make executive decisions, but if the right decision isn’t clear, it can be easy to make mistakes. Studies have found that having a moral compass - an internal system of values and ethics - goes along with higher resilience.
4. Recharge with a workout. Dealing with setbacks can be exhausting, so it’s important not just to push your way back too hard, but to rest and recharge along the way. Exercise is often a mini metaphor for life’s larger challenges: We set short-term goals that build mental momentum to reach larger goals in the long term.
5. Don’t set unrealistic goals. Challenge yourself and aim high but be fair to yourself.
6. Express your feelings.
According to a study of student nurses doing emotionally exhausting work in a literal life-or-death environment, those who were able to draw on support from friends and colleagues, and genuinely express their emotions from sorrow to frustration to joy, were less prone to burnout.
Tell people you trust how you really feel. Be honest and authentic rather than trying to please everyone and you’ll come out feeling relieved and sane.
Let me help you build resilience - email@example.com or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Maintaining your health and wellbeing provides the energy and capacity to endure the challenges that you may face in your role of caring for others. Good health and wellbeing mean that you can provide the best care to yourself, your family and your clients. Carers need to maintain their health and wellbeing to provide the best frame of mind to care for another individual or group.
To ensure caregiver burnout does not occur, you must practice emotional care with the same diligence you take when caring for others.
Emotional care refers to the practice of being mindful of our psychological health and adopting short but frequent daily habits to monitor and address psychological wounds when we sustain them. In your care-giver role – whether that is as counsellor, psychologist, coach, nurse or any other role where your main function is to care for another - burnout can manifest itself in a variety of ways. A few common signs to look out for include: anxiety, depression, irritability, new or worsening health problems, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, drinking, smoking or eating more, or neglecting your self-care, health, and wellness.
Some of the most important tips for carers include:
The cumulative effects of stress can build over time and not be noticed until problems emerge. Apart from the above, there are plenty of useful strategies for managing stress, including:
Guilt, anger, resentment, fear, stress, anxiety, depression and grief are some of the emotions that will be encountered in your role. It is normal to feel as if you are going crazy at times, and it does not help to try to suppress or deny what you are feeling. The best way to deal with your feelings is to accept them, but make sure you can talk about your feelings with someone who understands, whether it is a family member, friend, counsellor or support group.
Depression is always a potential concern, and you should seek professional help if it becomes a serious issue.
Maintain an identity of your own separate from your role and keep your links to the world outside your job and role.
Contact me to assist you. HELP IS ONE CALL AWAY - firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: psychologytoday.com; synapse.org; blog.careacademy.com; caregiver.org; nih.gov
In psychology, resentment is when a person has ongoing upset feelings towards another person or place because of a real or imagined injustice.
Can you recall the last time you held a grudge against someone? Perhaps it was a friend who betrayed you, a stranger who wronged you, a lover who left, or a parent who unintentionally hurt you. Perhaps it is because you are in a role that requires caring and supporting people and do not feel appreciated.
What can we do to overcome these feelings and painful memories?
What can one do to overcome these negative thought patterns?
What can we do to relinquish ourselves from feelings conjured up by other people’s actions?
When we drill deep into the root of resentment and anger, the cause usually revolves around our ego and the mind’s attempt to protect it from extinction. We react from a place of ego, survival instincts and defense. We may lash out from a place of anger, or our anger turns inwards, and we become depressed and resentful.
We fight out of an instinct to survive, and to protect our ego-driven pride. In the end, nobody wins. Resentment, anger, and fear are all connected. We become trapped in a self-obsessed cycle of being afraid of the future, angry in the present, and filled with resentment over our past.
The keys to overcoming the emotion lie in understanding and forgiving. This seems counter-intuitive, since our instincts tell us that we need to defend ourselves, and possibly come up with ways to hurt the other person.
Understanding gives us insight into what the other person is feeling. Even before we reach the stage of forgiveness, understanding will automatically ease some of the emotional burden we’ve been carrying.
Before seeking to understand, we need to find a place of clarity within ourselves. Once we have understood the place from where we are responding, we can move to forgiving the other person and ourselves. Holding on to resentment is usually more harming to yourself than the person you hold the resentment against.
Use responsible methods for dealing with these uncomfortable and unpleasant emotions so that you are no longer slaves to the emotional reflexes of our animalistic instincts.
Contact me to assist you to move through these powerful emotions - email@example.com or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: psychologytoday.com; thinksimplenow.com; lifehack.org
Caring for others, whether as a career or in an individual capacity, is always a privilege. Being there for someone in their time of need enables us to connect with our true humanity and often provides a service when there is none.
It does, however, often take its toll if the carer doesn’t care for themselves. Nowadays, with the bombardment of people’s suffering, we are often exposed to pain that we would not encounter under other circumstances.
Caring too much can hurt. When caregivers focus on others without practicing self-care, destructive behaviours can surface. Apathy, isolation, bottled up emotions and substance abuse head a long list of symptoms associated with the secondary traumatic stress disorder now labelled: Compassion Fatigue
While the effects of Compassion Fatigue can cause pain and suffering, learning to recognise and manage its symptoms is the first step toward healing.
Compassion fatigue used to be a problem that was most commonly seen among health care professionals. Because their work puts them in situations where they commonly see or hear about ongoing and sometimes unspeakable suffering, it is not unusual to see some of our most skilled, caring, and compassionate "helpers" fall victim to compassion fatigue.
However, in today's world, where every tragedy is instantly broadcast live in living colour directly into our living rooms (TV), laps (laptop), and/or hands (smartphone), compassion fatigue is no longer unique to certain professions. Signs of compassion fatigue include:
If you are feeling distressed, frustrated, guilty, exhausted, or annoyed, it is important to know that these feelings are normal. It can be easy to put your own needs last, but it is important if you are feeling tired or stressed to look after yourself, so you are still able to care for others. Seek help if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.
HELP IS ONE PHONE CALL AWAY! Get the support you need - contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 084 779 4889. Visit my website on www.nadinetherapy.co.za.
Credit: compassionfatigue.org; psychologytoday.com
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