I’ve been asked to facilitate a discussion on resilience in caregiving with a group of professional women and most of them are Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers are facing great levels of stress and challenges in their work and home life. Trying to keep your full-time job, while feeling absolutely exhausted, and still manage your family and pay the bills. Or worse yet, getting laid-off and having to move your mother into one of your kid’s bedroom because she needs full-time care. These are just the situations of living but don’t address the internal and emotional challenges like the stress, guilt, grief, anger, and joy that go with everyday living. We need to learn to be resilient.
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”.
Resilience is not a rare ability; in reality, it is found in the average individual and it can be learned and developed by virtually anyone. Resilience should be considered a process, rather than a trait to be had. It is a process of individuation through a structured system with gradual discovery of personal and unique abilities.
A common misconception is that resilient people are free from negative emotions or thoughts, and remain optimistic in most or all situations. To the contrary, resilient individuals have, through time, developed proper coping techniques that allow them to effectively and relatively easily navigate around or through crises. In other words, people who demonstrate resilience are people with optimistic attitude and positive emotionality and are, by practice, able to effectively balance negative emotions with positive ones. In military studies 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. Units with high cohesion tend to experience a lower rate of psychological breakdowns than units with low cohesion and morale. High cohesion and morale enhance adaptive stress reactions.” See more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_resilience
What is it to be resilient? In caregiving? In my opinion it is to be prepared. Know what’s in store for you and your family. My friend and colleague Eric Kaufmann @SagaticaWisdom, author of The Four Virtues Of Leadership (http://www.fourvirtuesofaleader.com/ shared this story: “The twin-prop 19 seat airplane, on a flight from Denver to Sheridan, was bucking like a livid bronco; a white knuckled flight made worse by uncertainty, and total silence from the pilot. As the plane kicked and bumped its way through the turbulent air my wife squeezed my knee with anxiety.
It was on the return flight that we learned a valuable lesson. Before we took off, a different pilot briefed us: “in about ten minutes we’re going to hit some updrafts of hot air. It’ll knock us from top to bottom, and we’ll bounce up and down. Also, we’re landing into 30 mile-an-hour winds that will jerk the plane from side to side.” In spite of the frightening preview, counter intuitively, my wife calmed down. Why? Because by informing us of what’s coming, and making the uncertain more predictable, the captain put her mind at ease. “
Here at Care To Caregiver, we are creating Journey Guides and Tool Kits to give different types of caregivers a road map for what to expect. Plan for all of the scenarios that are probable in your caregiving role so that you can be more resilient.
If you have a story or caregiving experience that you are proud of, because you sought your way to cope or succeed, please share it. We want to hear from you.