Bounce Back: The Resilient Caregiver
Free Download: Work the Solution! problem-solving pages
Chronic stress that comes with being a parent-caregiver can wreak havoc on your body and your life! How do you keep bouncing back, day after day, crisis after crisis, year after year?
This is a well-researched topic. In the late 70s and early 80s Suzanne Kobasa studied characteristics that seemed to predict who might get ill from stress, and who might stay well. The basic conclusion of her studies1.2. (which were done with executives) showed that a combination of certain qualities led to, as she coined the term "stress hardy" individuals.
What are those "stress hardy" qualities?
Those who exercised and had strong social support had the best chance of staying healthy in the face of chronic stress.
Other helpful characteristics were a sense of:
- control - if not in control over the events or situations themselves, they felt in control of their reactions, able to recognize and find options/choices, confident in their ability to manage stressful situations and find resources to help as well as able to connect to their internal strength and coping skills
- commitment - deriving a sense of meaning and connection from their lives
- challenge - seeing stressful situations and life changes as opportunities rather than obstacles or "bad" events that make them feel helpless and victimized
The Complete Caregiver Journal Workbook has problem solving pages to help you feel more in control and to see challenges instead of obstacles, journal topics to support your sense of commitment to your parent-caregiver role, worksheets to get you started on building your Exceptional Circle of people who can offer various kinds of volunteer support to your family, and more to help you develop these three stress-beating attitudes of Control, Commitment and Challenge, as well as other resilience-building exercises.
The Complete Caregiver's focus for building the ability to bounce back:
- embracing the role of parent-caregiver,
- living in the moment,
- finding gratitude for whatever we can,
- thinking optimistically and realistically,
- seeing our caregiving role as an opportunity for our own growth
as well as the growth and health of our child,
- seeing our daily crises as challenges that we can meet within ourselves
even if we cannot control the external events,
- deriving a sense of deeper meaning from our lives
- developing a stronger connection to the people in our lives
- creating a circle of support
- good nutrition
- relaxation techniques
We are putting our attention on these qualities and characteristics in an effort to better handle the stressful situations that all of us face, to help all of us manage our levels of stress so we can be healthier and live better lives, for us to know we are not alone, and that there is a path through the labyrinth of being a parent-caregiver.
1. Kobasa, S. (1979). Stressful life events, personality, and health: An inquiry into hardiness.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37. pp-1-11
2. Kobasa, S. , Maddi, S., & Kahn, S. (1982). Hardiness and health: A prospective study.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42. pp. 169-170.
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