I'm sure that as a caregiver you will relate to my experience of being in the liminal space; the space you're in when your loved one's sudden illness brings with it a state of loss, ambiguity, confusion and disorientation…that in-between stage.
My role as Family Caregiver was activated when my aged mother fell a month ago. As a consequence to her fall she started to present many symptoms that required medical attention. She is currently in hospital undergoing tests and getting some physiotherapy but she remains at a loss for a diagnosis and a plan of treatment.
My siblings and I are dedicated to her wellbeing and have been spending many hours daily at her bedside to serve as translators and care advocates. Being in a strange setting, having to undergo a multitude of tests and having to express her needs to different nurses every day, has caused her to be anxious, frustrated and restless.
As a family, we are facing uncertainty, ambiguity, restlessness, and fear at the thought that our mother’s lifestyle will be changed forever and that our own lives will be dramatically affected by her change in health.
Heather Plett (https://heatherplett.com) describes this space we are in, as the liminal space. She explains that when we are in the liminal space "we are between identities, between who we once were and who we are becoming, like the chrysalis stage between caterpillar and butterfly. It is the space between, when a trapeze artist let’s go of one swing and doesn’t yet know whether she’ll be able to reach the other swing".
In the article Grieving as Sacred Space, Richard Rohr describes liminal space as “…It is when you are in between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. It is no fun.”
Our mother was autonomous and has always been resilient and strong. To see her vulnerable, lost and troubled has ripped our hearts open. This new reality is requiring much more of us than we ever knew we had to give. It is taking courage, strength, positivism, time, presence, hope, LOVE and commitment to her and to ourselves.
I am blessed to have eight loving siblings, who are all there for one another and for our mother. We know how to hold space for each other in our most vulnerable moments because we are a tight team, open to unconditional support and compassion. We are willing to face whatever life has to offer in both, the painful and the joyous moments, with each other.
The understanding, that we are living the natural process of transformation called "liminal space", has brought a light of awareness and a light of insight that will carry us through this time of change with greater acceptance.
My intention in writing this blog is to inspire caregivers to be their best at caregiving to themselves and to their loved ones. I like to remind everyone that the essential key of intentions is not about making outcome happen but to co-create with life without controlling an outcome.
I love the idea of being able to raise my vibrations through intentions; this is how I steer my own ship.
When we set intentions, we declare what we want to experience in our lives. "May I be more_________ than I can possibly imagine, for the benefit of all". Fill in the blank. Declare your intention and welcome it in your world, awaken all that is to be.
Family caregivers are required to multitask and wear many hats to meet their responsibilities across the board. They are often high jacked by depletion and depression and worry that they are not doing enough for their loved one.
Finding an inspiring thread for you and writing these thoughts down can be a daily reminder of your own desires and mission. 1.
Once we declare our intention for the day, the week or the year, it becomes a force of nature. The Universe brings what we have asked for to us. Everything that happens in our lives begins with an intention.
How do we set an intention?
By asking ourselves, what nourishes us in our daily life?
What part of our self would we like to see grow?
1. Calm your mind and body. The best time to set an intention for what we desire is after a meditation or upon rising. Quieting our mind and relaxing our body opens us up to a deeper consciousness. Our intention can then be planted like a small seed waiting to flourish. My favorite intention is as follows: "May I be...more loving, compassionate, caring, patient, inspired, creative, aware, conscious, energetic, connected, friendly, kind, prosperous, ...than I can possibly imagine...for the benefit of all.
2. Release Your Intention. After you’ve established your intention or desire, simply let it go. You no longer need to think about it or try to force it to manifest.
3. Stay grounded and centered each day. Know that the Universe or your Higher Power is taking care of manifesting your intention for your higher good. Let go of stress and worry by knowing that everything is going to be alright.
4. Do not attach yourself to the outcome. (Attaching ourselves to a specific outcome creates fear and insecurity. Know that your intention will manifest in the best time and space).
5. Let the Universe handle the details. (The Universe or our Higher Consciousness looks after the process of manifesting our intentions).
We have so much difficulty letting go of our power and allowing goodness to come into our lives. After expressing our intention, our work is done. The Universe looks after the details of realizing that intention. 3.
"Remember, we're in this together."
Go to www.coletteasselin.com for more information about Caregiver Health and Wellness Coaching.
There are few tasks in life more challenging or more stressful than caring for a sick or aging relative at home or in a facility. Balancing caregiving with work, kids, bills and managing a household can put anyone on the verge of a meltdown; yet more than 8 million Canadians have embraced this responsibility. The majority are women between 45 and 64, who dedicate themselves to this exhausting labor of love while trying to balance the demands of home and career.
While caring for others, you probably forget to take care of yourself and that’s not good. If you’re putting the needs of your loved one well above your own to the point that it negatively impacts your own quality of life, you need to take a step back and take inventory of how this is affecting your physical and emotional wellbeing.
If you are more depleted, depressed and frustrated than inspired, re-energized, happy and fulfilled in your caregiving journey, you may be at the lower end of the caregiving continuum. If this is the case for you, there is a way to transformation and it is well worth the struggle for both yourself and your loved one.
The caregiving journey is challenging and as it is for most, you probably don't have much time in your day for yourself. Reducing stress levels whenever possible is however crucial to good health and good state of mind. Your brain, just like your body, needs downtime. “It performs best after you give it even just a little time to relax”.
When under high stress, our body releases adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones that will increase our heart rate, blood sugar and blood pressure and that will shut down our immune system so our body can function at a “high alert” level. It is, however, unhealthy for anyone to be constantly stressed. This is why caregiving takes such a toll on the body and mind if we don’t manage our stress levels on regular basis. Even if the spirit is willing, the body becomes more susceptible to disease and infection when under continuous stress.
Have you ever received good advice from your doctor related to health and stress management that you were unable to follow or unable to sustain?
Have you tried to take better care of yourself by setting boundaries just to find out that you sabotage your efforts after a few days and end right back into chaos? If so, you may need a health and wellness coach to walk with you on your path to wellness.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?
Sleepless nights even when tired.
Feeling irritable over little things.
Feeling exhausted and drained most of the time.
Having difficulty fighting a cold or having frequent digestive issues.
Feeling angry, resentful and frustrated
Feeling overly critical of your own skills and performance.
Feeling isolated from your friends and withdrawing from other family members.
Ignoring your self-care and forgetting your own appointments.
Feeling depressed and constantly anxious.
Feeling unable to give more
If you want to learn how to reduce stress and be in the driver’s seat of your life, let me work with you and you will:
Regain control of your life and have more energy
Start dreaming and have a clear vision of your future
Get tips on how to nourish your body to keep it strong and energized
Get strategies to keep your mind sharp
Rejuvenate and restore yourself through self-love
Set boundaries and keep social activities
Thrive on your caregiving journey
Replace caretaking with caregiving
Have more fun and laughter in your life.
Schedule a free 30-minute consultation and ask how you can thrive and make caregiving more pleasant.
To learn more about my programs and services, please visit my website: http://www.coletteasselin.com and sign up for my FREE 7 Tips to Reduce Caregiver Stress and join my FB page at https://www.facebook.com/healyourlifewithcolette