Good morning Caregivers!
I want to take this opportunity today to focus on YOU. As members of CASS, you are people supporting people. You are CAREGIVERS. And you may be caregivers in a number of roles, paid and unpaid, such as support workers, support home providers, parents, friends, neighbours, and/or children of aging parents. During this pandemic, your role has probably changed significantly. Your caregiving responsibilities may have increased, your ability to connect with others has been challenged, and your own resources for self-care have been stretched thin.
You are doing a fabulous job. You are doing the very best you can with what you know and what you have. You are a gift to the people with whom you are in a caregiving relationship. THANK YOU! For putting one foot in front of the other every single day to lend a hand, check-in, and guide. Thank you for being there for people when worlds and social contacts have shrunk. Thank you for putting on that mask, sanitizing your hands, and going out in to a germ-filled world JUST BECAUSE someone is counting on you. Thank you for putting yourself out there because you want to make a difference in someone’s day.
Being a caregiver is a GREAT job, but it is a hard job. It takes alot of energy, creativity, perseverance and kindness to be there for someone. It’s even more difficult in a world experiencing the unprecedented threat of a deadly virus. And you keep SHOWING UP! You are AMAZING!
Kristin Neff (www.self-compassion.org) acknowledges that being a caregiver requires us to “be in the presence of suffering without being overwhelmed1“. Yet, when we spend so much time caring deeply for others, it can be difficult to avoid absorbing others’ suffering into our own minds and bodies. Dr. Neff asserts that practicing compassion for ourselves and those who are suffering allows us to continue to be in the presence of suffering while avoiding being overwhelmed by our feelings. We are able to connect with others’ suffering with empathy and equanimity (having a calm mind even in difficult situations) without losing touch with our own well-being and ability to cope.
If I could give you a pat on the back, I would! But for now, I want to offer you a moment of compassion. Kristin Neff recorded a video called “Self-Compassion for Caregivers”. It’s a 9 minute and 34 seconds HUG for what you do and who you are in people’s lives. Take 10 minutes this week to receive this gift of compassion. It’s a gift that keeps on giving and can be received over and over again.
Self Compassion for Caregivers (Neff, K.) Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ9wGfwE-YE&feature=youtu.be. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
Thank you for who you are and all you do,
1. Why caregivers need self-compassion. Neff, Kristin. Retrieved October 29, 2020 from https://self-compassion.org/why-caregivers-need-self-compassion/
2. You can find a written script of Dr. Neff’s “Self-Compassion for Caregivers” mindfulness on p.33 of this resource available at: https://cls.unc.edu/files/2016/11/MSCHandout.pdf. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
3. Self-Compassion in Difficult Times with Kristin Neff. Retrieved January 20, 2021 from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoqSvlakeSQ