Part 1: Question: How can learning about navigating my inner self help me be a better caregiver?
Answer: I will begin the answer to this question by asking a couple questions.
Question #1: Have you repeatedly heard well-meaning family members and friends tell you: “You need to take care of yourself.”
Question #2: Have you ever thought: “If one more person tells me I need to take care of myself I am going to scream!”
I can’t say I have ever actually heard a caregiver say the above. However, I imagine some do feel this way. The caregivers I meet know that people telling them to take care of themselves are saying something that is both intuitively and empirically true. They also know that self-care, when faced with daily predictably unpredictable challenges, is a tall order. Taking breaks for rest and relaxation, if it requires being separated from the demands of caregiving and the care receiver, for many caregivers is available only on a very limited basis. Thus, despite acknowledging and knowing there is a need for self care, the ability to engage in it can seem elusive.
Navigating the World of the Inner Self focuses on ways to integrate stress reduction techniques into the everyday logistics you face as a caregiver. The methods are not meant as a substitute for time away and R ad R. Rather they are an “add on” offering simple exercises that can be used anytime and anywhere. Insights gained into human nature are included to help you shift to a more relaxed and effective way of being who you and who you are meant to be, and also in being an effective caregiver.
As an Empowerment Coach and astrologer my focus for the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center Wednesday Workshop video sessions is on how to apply the surprisingly apt and accurate descriptions of human nature gleaned from the astrology and the zodiac. I combine teaching stress management with clues for knowing the inner self. Effective self-care and stress management are “inside jobs.” Other people can help and, self-care, by definition, must be initiated and maintained by you. Through gaining insights about how to effectively navigate your inner self you enhance your resources for meeting everyday challenges. Background information about this series are given in my January Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center blog post that you can read here.
Part 2: The Inner Self Focus: CAREGIVER ASSERTIVENESS
Self-Care Zodiac Theme: Aries: The Ram; March 21 – April 20 There are times when you in your role as caregiver, need to assert your will to engage a care receiver in performing desired behaviors (i.e. taking a shower, going to the doctor, etc.). Most caregivers encounter times when they are met with resistance. And you may have learned from experience that being assertive and insisting on achieving a desired behavior can result in a mild power struggle or even a battle that looks and feels like the start of World War III. It is human nature, when meeting with resistance, to want to push and be assertive in an attempt to achieve a desired result.
March 21st was the Spring Equinox when the Sun entered the first sign of the astrological zodiac — Aries. It is the sign represented by the symbol of the Ram, an animal known for pushing (ramming) to get what it wants. Aries energy is in the air and thus this month we explore the inner navigation of how to support yourself in being effective when caregiving requires that you assert yourself.
In the March Wednesday Workshop video I teach a very simple approach to supporting yourself in being calm. If when caring for someone who is resisting your lead you are feeling overwhelmed and you feel the urge to be assertive in a pushy way this exercise will help you gain “calm clarity.” The desired result is that your calm demeanor will be an effective approach gaining the desired behavior. Watch the video below and try this technique. It is good to practice this technique anytime you feel overwhelmed and/or you are facing coping with resistance. See how it works for you and the results you achieve with your care receiver.
There are no silver bullets and sure bets for always being effective in encouraging someone to do something that he or she is resisting. This very simple exercise is guaranteed to help calm you. Being calm can benefit you – even if you do not get the desired results.
PS If when using this technique you have great results I’d love to hear about it. Write me at [email protected]