As I go about the various client sessions, conferences and other interactions with individuals and groups in my professional life, I spend quite a bit of time with caregivers. Some of them are professionals, others are volunteers, and many are family members of the people for whom they provide care.
Very often when it comes up in conversation that I offer telephone-based support groups for caregivers, their reaction is a surprised and enthusiastic one such as, “Wow, that’s great!” They’re surprised because they’ve heard of in-person support groups before, but not “virtual” ones where they can attend via telephone from the comfort of their own space.
These individuals know first hand the stresses and constant compromises of caregiving, and what a difference meaningful, ongoing support can provide.
Their spontaneous excitement in response to hearing what I do makes sense, because we’re already having a conversation about the challenges of being a caregiver, so they’re focused on their needs and concerns, and looking for solutions.
It’s also easy for them to make a decision to get support, because the benefit is clear. They may have to work out scheduling or payment details, but they know they want the kind of help I’m describing and want it now, and they take action to start the process.
So while I can’t talk personally with every one of you who is a caregiver, or meet you at an event and have a conversation about your concerns, I know what you are going through!
I also know the kinds of things that stop people in your position from taking action. As with most people, the biggest obstacle you face is even being aware of the problem. You are simply not focused on it – you’re devoting all of your attention to your “To-DO” list, and not on your needs.
Or if you do happen to focus on it, you’re so pressed for time you think, “There’s no way I could fit that in.” Or you think, “I just don’t feel comfortable spending that money on myself when there are so many other things I could use it for.”
And, following whatever whatever the first thought it, the last-but-certainly-not-least one is frequently, “That would be selfish of me!”
Just consider: there are 720 hours in a month, and the monthly cost of, say, support group participation is probably less than your cable bill. So…what’s REALLY stopping you? I think it’s that last bit of self-talk that’s probably the culprit. You’ve convinced yourself that you don’t deserve to be cared for MOST OF ALL.
And that’s a discouraging – and totally unnecessary! – place to be.
So while the registration for the support group is now closed, if you know you are struggling to meet all the demands in your life, and that you are not taking adequate care of yourself, please know that there are other support options I can offer you that you may well be able to take advantage of.
Over the next few weeks, why not make the thought of your needs and the importance of caring for you remain uppermost in your mind. Don’t let this critical topic slip into obscurity again as you go about every demanding, busy, draining day.
Just take one action, and reach out by emailing me or calling me – I really am here, available, and passionate about helping people in your position – about helping you stay healthy and happy, and live a fulfilling life.
I’m serious – I want to help you be better cared for, not just today but always – don’t settle for barely getting through another day, week, month…or year!
Take that first step, and get in touch with me and let’s see what’s possible…learn what the caregivers I’ve met in person already know – continuing to struggle alone is NOT an option!
I so look forward to connecting with you…and remember to BREATHE!