Week 2, Adding to the "Toolbox"

Sharon

Week 2, Adding to the "Toolbox"

Sharon
screwdriver-708170_640So last night was week 2 of Powerful Tools for Caregivers. It dealt with the s word...STRESSSSS!!!!

We discussed what signs we get of our own stress (like short tempered, can't sleep, back hurts, etc.) and the cause of that stress (feeling overwhelmed, too much to do, etc.). Then we discussed ways to alleviate the stress. We did breathing exercises together, talked about physical ways (exercise, playing tennis, etc) and mental ways (listening to music, meditating, etc.) to relieve the stress.

We then discussed negative self talk and how to turn it positive. Example: "Mom never eats what I prepare, I even make what she likes. I can't please her."(negative). Think instead "I prepare nutritious food that Mom usually enjoys. Her illness prevents her from enjoying large portions. I am doing the best I can." (positive)

We talked about creating an action plan for stressors to brainstorm ways of changing them, if they can be changed. Example: Too much to do....find someone to help, take time out, go to lunch with a friend.

We all know what extended stress can do to the body and mind. We, as caregivers, need to be acutely aware of our own stress, how it manifests itself and how we can best dissipate its affects. We were given a worksheet to complete with 4 questions. Question 1: Write down 1-2 sources of your stress. Question 2: Can I change anything about these stressors?  If so, what can I change? Question 3: What actions can I take to reduce or manage stress? Question 4: Write an example of your negative self talk then rewrite the example as a positive statement.

I found it interesting that many people readily admitted that they feel they can give care better than anyone else could to their caree. This lead to a control freakery discussion.One of those self-fulfilling prophesy things. You want all the control but with it comes all the stress. Pick your battles.

This stress management story was passed out along with some thoughts. The story is one we all need to hear.

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience, with a raised glass of water. Everyone just knew the question would be "half full or half empty". She fooled them. "How heavy is this glass of water?", she inquired. Answers ranged from 8 oz to 20 oz.

She replied "The absolute weight does not matter. It depends on how long you hold it. If I hold it a minute, no problem. If I hold it an hour, my arm will ache. If I hold it a day, call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "And that's the way with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as it becomes heavier, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down and rest before holding it again. When we are refreshed, we can carry on-holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night...Pick them up tomorrow."

What I took away from last night was this: It is my job to handle my own stress, because if I don't, the consequences to me and those around me will not be pretty. Find your release valve and use it, as needed, and as often as you can. Stop negative thoughts, they only cause more stress and resentment. Practice positive statements and use them often.

This brought to mind my favorite quote of all time "A day that begins with sunshine is a frame of mind, not a weather forecast". May your days begin with sunshine!

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3 Comments

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EllysGdaughter

I am so glad you are enjoying your classes, Sharon! It would be fun if all of us came to the same class together! I hope you will have more nuggets to share as your weeks go on!

jan

Great post, thanks for sharing and reminding me. So essential to act upon what I already know.

Hussy

Thanks for sharing, Sharon. It sounds like you are getting a lot out of these classes and with you writing about them, so are we. :)