7/9/2022 1 Comment
One Thursday afternoon recently I had problems getting into our Carers Connected zoom meeting, and eventually I had to switch off my computer, wait a short while and then switch on and try again. It reminded me of when I was a woman returner at work in the late 1990s and Rosemary, in IT support, was so good with those of us who were new to computers and got frustrated when they wouldn’t cooperate. She’d say, “Switch off. Let the snowstorm settle, in the screen and in you. Then switch on again.” Invariably all would be well.
Anyone can get stressed with all sorts of things in life but for carers there can be particular additional stresses, for example the challenging behaviour of your loved one, or the feeling that you’re constantly fighting the health care system. It's then, for our own wellbeing, that we need to have strategies to switch off from the situation, let the storm inside us settle, and then reconnect.
I heard a lovely song recently on the Radio 4 Daily Service, which contrasted an eagle effortlessly soaring high on thermals, with a sparrow flapping wildly but not getting very high. What helps you to rise above the storm? As well as the practical suggestions above, as a Christian I’ve been so grateful to know that there is a loving heavenly Father who cares and, if I let Him, is more than willing to lift me on eagle’s wings.
I’m no expert, and my experience is limited, but now my caring role is over, and I have time to reflect, what else have I learnt about coping with stress in caring?
*A comfort box of sensory items is a box of things which evoke positive feelings. For example a favourite photo, a cute drawing by one of your grandchildren, very soft material, a tub of bubbles to blow and watch, hand cream, scented candle, and a piece of bubblewrap, because who doesn’t like popping the bubbles! I kept my box on view, because sometimes, even just remembering its contents, was enough to help me relax a bit.
If you are an informal carer, please see the For Carers section of our website for details on how you can become part of our Carers Connected support group, as well as resources and reflections by carers that you might find useful. We also have resources for churches on supporting carers.
You can also find resources on dementia here, including our new series of Making Moments booklets with practical ideas for enjoying quality time with a loved one with dementia.