Bounce Back, Developing Resiliency
The Strength to Endure
Caregivers struggle with depression, burnout and loss. We all face reverses and losses in life. Can we adapt to caregiver stress, job loss, loss of income, or fractured relationships? How do we cope with death and the accompanying grief? We will face stressors in life. Can we prepare ourselves to better adapt, to bounce back, when life gives us a whack or even knocks us flat?
Each of us possesses some resiliency but by learning coping skills we give ourselves better odds to endure the hardships. I struggle with keeping connections with others. Sometimes I see problems as overwhelming, instead of looking past the immediate to the long-term. Seeing myself in a negative instead of positive light is another behavior I struggle with. My faith in God, spending time meditating on Scripture and prayer is my primary resiliency behavior. Writing this blog is one of the ways I cope with caregiver stress.
Coping Skills We Can Learn
Here are some skills to work on. This list is from The American Psychological Association.
Make connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations, or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.
Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.
Accept that change is a part of living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.
Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”
Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.
Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and heightened appreciation for life.
Nurture a positive view of yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.
Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.
Additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful. For example, some people write about their deepest thoughts and feelings related to trauma or other stressful events in their life. Meditation and spiritual practices help some people build connections and restore hope.
The key is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you as part of your own personal strategy for fostering resilience.
A Personal Perspective
My core values are faith-based, I find in God the spiritual strength I draw on to cope with adversity. I allow myself to feel the pain of loss but I try not to “live” there. I believe I’m called to care for my parents. I think it’s what God wants me to do for now. I can look beyond this time and know my life will change when they no longer need me. My faith has enabled me to survive the loss of a child. I’ve come away battered and bruised but not vanquished.
On a lighter note, here is a fun, rhyming video teaching about resiliency.
Did you find any areas you need to work on? I’m going to keep working on my weak areas.