Managing Worry When Worry Is Normal

Karol Ward, author of Worried Sick, re-joined us today on Your Caregiving Journey to share ideas on managing chronic worry. You can listen to our show via the player at the bottom of the post.

In a caregiving situation, worry is as normal as those feelings of guilt, anger and resentment. Because of what caregiving is, you can’t help but worry.

Karol describes worry as the way we get control over what we fear we can’t control. Makes sense, doesn’t it? You may worry about your caree’s declining health simply because you fear a life-out-of-control because of declining abilities. How will I manage more responsibilities? How will I feel about taking on more responsibilities? How will my caree feel? How will other family members react? Will I get push-back to consider a nursing home? Will I have enough help? Will I have enough stamina?

And, so on.

Worry can be a good companion, spurring us to act. Worry becomes a problem when it becomes a stalker, a constant menacing presence that keeps us cemented in a state of inaction. And, in a caregiving situation, sometimes inaction becomes the worse case scenario.

To manage chronic worry so that you move from inaction to action, Karol suggests the following:

1. Be calm through movement that’s right for you. Walk, sway to a favorite song, play with Fido–just move.

2. Gain clarity through your mind’s logic. Consider a worry. Ask yourself: Okay, and then what? In response to that answer, ask yourself: And, then what? Work through the chain of worries–you’ll finish at the place where you can say, “Okay, now I know. Now, I can take action.”

3. Tap into your community. Sharing your worries with a community that understands helps you find a healthier perspective. Many years ago, a family caregiver told me, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” How true is that!

And, finally, fake it forward. You still may feel crippled by worry. Still move, consider, share. It will begin the process of shifting your energy from believing you can’t to knowing you can.

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