Welcome to Caregiver Friday!!!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the caregiver experience over the past couple of weeks. The literature focuses a lot on caregiver stress and burnout looking for the reasons they occur and how to avert those challenges. I’ve been thinking about caregiver stress on a more internal, depth level of meaning. This isn’t about how experience broadens your horizons or your innate ability to show compassion gets punctuated during these times, but more pointedly, how are you doing and how do you get from day-to-day?
It would be wonderful if the person you’re caring for asked how you’re getting through the day, but I think that’s a bit much to ask. That’s why when I speak to caregivers, both personal and professional caregivers I always start by saying “thank you”. I take the proxy for all the patients in the world and share my gratitude since it is so often overlooked.
I’d like to take it one step further today and simply ask, “How are you doing?” I’m not asking you about how are you coping, but how is your soul holding up with these new responsibilities. I’m wondering how in times when your personal resources are continuously depleted, you get the opportunity to replenish your inner storage tanks to take on another day.
I don’t want this question to be like the exchanges we have on the street when we see someone we know and they ask, “how are you doing?” and you answer “fine” because that’s the appropriate response. I really want to know how you’re doing because you matter, you count, and your well-being is critical to the equation of universal health and healing.
This isn’t grandiose, but a fact. We’re all interconnected and that connection means that when you’re suffering on some level we’re all suffering. I’d be honored and grateful if you’d share “how you’re doing? so we can diffuse the madness, come up with solutions for wholeness and show the world that your experience is part of the bigger picture, the one where we all matter to one another.