Quarterbacks display resilience with every play on the field.
In our blog post from January 22, 2017 titled Resilience we shared the definition of Resilience: According to Wikipedia, “Psychological resilience is defined as an individual’s ability to successfully adapt to life tasks in the face of social disadvantage or highly adverse conditions. Adversity and stress can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial worries, among others. Resilience is one’s ability to bounce back from a negative experience with “competent functioning”.
A quarterback has an entire team surrounding him. In the case of a family caregiver, you might have a family and neighborhood surrounding you.
A quarterback has a playbook with scenarios and tactics for each team member based on different situations. In the case of a family caregiver? Is there a playbook? Is there a roadmap for you to see the course, the journey for what’s in store for you? You would need to take inventory of your team’s strengths and talents and; assess each “opponent” (the situation) and learn their moves/tactics in order to build your playbook.
Comparing a Quarterback’s position with a caregiver’s you’d want to:
- Surround yourself with a network of family and friends who can join your team in some role or capacity to help in your caregiving. Creating a spreadsheet with names and phone numbers of all your family and friends and what they can do to help is a good first step. Make a call tree.
- Assess the strengths and talents of each team member and tie those to your playbook. Make a “To-Do” list and note who does what. And you can create a schedule and put it on the refrigerator. You’ll need to be clear on what your mission is as a caregiver and for yourself personally in the journey of caregiving. Your mission could be – to provide the best care and support for your loved one, and make sure to take care of yourself – your health and wellbeing. Your playbook is the journey guide for what’s in store and how you’re going to manage your caregiving activities and emotions.
- Gather your family and friends, your team, to talk. There are going to be lots of questions. Give everyone a chance to ask questions and just be together. Talk. Listen. Let your love shine. Sometimes using a talking stick to pass around for each person to have their uninterrupted chance to say something is an effective tool. Here’s a link for some ways to make a Talking Stick – http://www.artisbasic.com/2015/04/making-talking-sticks-with-kids.html
- Play the game to win. Here is where you shine in being resilient with the ever-changing activities as a caregiver… from surprising visits of an estranged grandson or daughter, emergencies, devastating prognosis, and the usual family dynamics. You need to be resilient. Pick your battles and look for the good in every hurdle or challenge. One play at a time. Like football, go for the down, 10 feet or one foot at a time.
Resilience. It takes practice. When you can act with an optimistic attitude, can feel emotionally positive inside, you will be able to effectively balance negative emotions with positive ones. In military studies, conducted by Purdue “Understanding and Promoting Resilience in Military Families” https://www.mfri.purdue.edu/resources/public/reports/Understanding and Promoting Resilience.pdf it has been found that resilience is also dependent on group support: unit cohesion and morale is the best predictor of combat resiliency within a unit or organization. Resilience is highly correlated to peer support and group cohesion.
Just like football, you’ve got to get out there and practice, work with your team, and focus on being a winner. Go team!