Showing posts with label caregiver burnout. Show all posts
Showing posts with label caregiver burnout. Show all posts

Emotional Roller Coaster Rides

 

Chris giving me "the look"

This morning, I was talking to a friend about emotional health. We were rolling lots of thoughts and strategies around. The topic came up because during my Facebook live devotions (video below), I mentioned I wasn't bragging, but I can go from the apex of wonderful to the valley of despair in as fast las two seconds. I think all caregivers may have those moments. We talk a lot about how difficult caregiving can be logistically and physically. But we often forget how often we deal with emotional roller coasters.

In a given day, hour, or minute even, we can swing from elation to weeping, from crying to joy. Back and forth it goes all day some days. If we are lucky, we land somewhere on solid ground in between. Over the years, I've learned some personal strategies that have started to help me balance emotions out more quickly so that I don't end up in the valley of weeping all day long.

Managing my day as much as possible helps me keep some of the in check. Identifying the boom before the big drop helps me be more proactive. If I can sense the emotional drop coming on, I can change up what I am doing - go for a walk, read a book, watch a movie, sit down for a cup of tea - anything to change up my mood so I don't crash usually helps. I may play the piano or put on some 70s music and dance around the house. I look funny - but I feel better! lol Do you have some strategies you can share?

This all brings to mind the verse in Hosea 2. In verse 15, God says He will turn the Valley of Achor into a door of hope. Achor can be translated as pain, but the NLT translates it as trouble. Either way - no matter what we are going through, God will open a door of hope. If we can work through our emotional adventures (that's a more positive term, right?), we'll see hope open up on the other side. We may need to wipe away a few tears and tilt our head one way or the other - but eventually we will be able to see and experience hope. God will not leave us alone in our pain or stress. He comes to us and stays with us - as long as we need Him. 

Today, I declare that I need Him! I have no doubt that I cannot do this caregiving thing on my own and my intense need for help drives me right to His heart. What do we find there, but His heart beating for us. I'll remind myself that He meets us in our moment of need - that moment we know we need Him above all. He holds us. He sings over us. He comforts us. He helps us. He provides for us - on every level from our finances, to health, to emotional support. He is here for us. Say it out loud with me - God is here for me today! I will trust Him for today - will you join me in this pursuit?

My facebook devotions this morning:





                                                                                                                                           



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I also recently opened my own bookstore. I'm presently filling it up with my books - check out the ones I have available in eBook format. You can download them and read them on your phone! Dove's Fire Ministries Bookstore.



Under is Not All Bad

 

Chris in the standing frame

When we think of being under something it's usually in a bad connotation. We feel under the weather or we are under a heavy burden. But this weekend, I discovered that being under isn't all bad! We had some bad storms roll through. The tornadic activity was nowhere near me but in the same county. Since there was a tornado warning in the county, the tornado sirens were blaring. I ran outside to see if I could capture a photo of anything interesting from this side.

What I found was a huge feeder cloud looming overhead. I snapped a photo but it just did not compare. I took several photos and came back to the house to look at them. They seemed to lack something. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was missing. A picture just couldn't capture the feeling of being under that huge cloud formation.

Of course, my mind went to the scriptures. Psalm 91 talks about hiding under the shadow of the Almighty. In Psalm 57, the psalmist declares he will stay under the shadow of God's protection until the calamities were passed. Until we get under His protective wings, we just won't get it! 

What good is a refuge if we don't run to it? What good is a fortress if we don't hunker down for protection? God is our refuge - He is our strength - but we must hide in Him and run to Him first. Until we get under Him - we won't have a sense of His protection, power, majesty, and strength.

Today, I will purposefully hide my heart in His. I'll seek His protection, peace, and comfort. I'll remind myself that I need to let Him carry me when I feel like I cannot take one more step. I'll remind myself that it's okay (and preferred) to run to Him before I find myself in overwhelm mode. He's right there waiting for us - will you join me?


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31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle.



Download Poems for Caregivers for free! 

Poems for Caregivers bookcover


Why Wait?


 This morning in the middle of my live Facebook "Peace Out!" devotions, I was reading a scripture and it just hit me. Ever have that happen? I was sharing out of one of my favorites, Psalm 61. David is pouring his heart out to God. I've always focused on being overwhelmed, running to God, and letting Him lead me to the Rock.

But as I was reading it for the thousandth time, I saw this phrase - from the end of the earth. Suddenly, I wondered what David meant. Did he mean he thought the world was flat and he was living on the edge about to fall off? Or did he mean time was coming to a close and the earth was ending? Neither of those made sense to me. I don't know what David was going through specifically, of course. But it's obvious he was dealing with some big stuff.

Then, it hit me - David was at the end of his rope! Maybe they just didn't have that saying yet! lol. He cried out - from the end of the earth - the end of my rope - I will cry to You, O Lord! My question then switched to - why did he wait? Why didn't he "call out" earlier? But I realized I do the same thing. I go through my days handling it all just fine. But the second I feel overwhelmed and overcome - then I seek God. Why do I wait?

What would happen if I didn't wait until I was totally bogged down under the load of caregiving before running to Him for His sustaining grace? What if I just lived in His shelter? What would that look like, I wonder? Isn't that what He ultimately wants too? He never prohibits us from coming to Him. He never says He's busy or we have to wait until tomorrow to get grace for today. Right? He never says - you should have come sooner. He just patiently extends the grace and mercy we need to match our need, to cover us.

Today, I will go to Him before I feel like I'm "at the end of my rope." I'll choose to start trusting Him now for whatever the day may throw at me later. I will hang out in His shelter even before I feel I need protection. Then, like David does in this psalm, I'll declare - I will abide with You. I will trust You. I will sing Your praise. Will you join me?

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31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle.


Caregiver Burnout is Real

 


Do you ever just get too tired? Do you ever want to quit? Do you ever sit down for a whole 30 seconds and think about not getting back up? Ever? Who am I kidding? Sometimes I forget who I'm talking to. Lol. As caregivers, burnout is real. But the problem for most of us, is we don't get a break even in the midst of burnout, right? Let's face it. If we had a bit more help we might avoid burnout - but once we feel that we are in a season of burnout and stressed out - there's still no help. It's easy to feel stuck.

I try to do a few things to avoid burnout and to cope. Someone told me one time that I had learned how to live even in the midst of the situation. I think she was right. I have learned to slow down and enjoy an afternoon cup of tea (or coffee!!!). I try to get outside as much as possible because sunshine and fresh air are essential to a healthy life. Some days that means sitting on the patio so I can see Chris in the recliner through the window. But I'm still "outside." I enjoy watching the birds in the small tree outside my patio too. those seemingly "little" things add up. I've learned to take an evening "off" from work-work, even if not from caregiving. I'll watch a movie or read a book. All these mental health tricks are so key to keeping myself healthy inside and out. 

But how do I keep my spirit-man healthy? There are times when I am just bummed out - anyone else identify? Times when I don't see God doing anything specifically. Times when I feel so all alone - because I am. What about those times? 

I think I found my answer in Psalm 77 this morning. Asaph pens these words in verses 4-10:

I am too troubled to speak (have we ever been there!?!?)

I think about the days of old, the years of long ago.

I remember my song, I commune with myself and my spirit asks:

Will Adonai reject forever?

Will he never show favor again?

Has his grace permanently disappeared?

Is his word to all generations done away?

Has God forgotten to be compassionate?

Has he in anger withheld his mercy?

We sometimes ask these questions silently because we don't dare let them pass through our lips. But silently they arise from the depths of our beings as the caregiving days become long. But I love where Asaph goes with this psalm. Next, he says, this is my weakness - supposing that God's hand could change. Man, I love that. Our weakness is thinking that God's grace, mercy, and compassion ran out last week sometime. 

But then, Asaph realizes he's taken an interesting turn in his thinking. He is basically saying,  I don't see God doing anything right here, right now - so I'll remind myself of all He's done in the past. (Complete Jewish Bible translation)

When we cannot see or feel Him in our right-here-right-now, we can encourage ourselves with what we know He has done before. We can remind ourselves of the times we have seen Him intervene, provide peace in the storm, just be present when we needed Him - and that list goes on and on.

Today, I will remind myself that God's hand hasn't changed. He has not looked the other way, instead, He continues to look in my direction. I will remind myself of the times He's healed, calmed the storms in my heart and mind, brought comfort and peace. And I will be thankful. Will you join me?

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31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle.



Download Poems for Caregivers for free! 

Poems for Caregivers bookcover

The Encourager

 

chris and me at the park

It happens to the best of us. No matter how strong we are - or think we are. No matter how long we've been caregiving. No matter how mature we are in the Lord. No matter how faithful we are to pray and study the word. Some day, some time, discouragement will visit. It may even try to disguise itself as tiredness or weariness. It's at those moments when we are tired and fatigued that we are the most vulnerable. It's not a matter of if it's a matter of when discouragement will come knocking on our door.

For me - it's like today. I know I'm okay. But I also know Chris hasn't slept well in over a week and that begins to wear away at my strength and my soul. I get weary. Who wouldn't? I know you understand. I'm not weak in my faith. My trust in Him is still intact. The word is still rich and alive and I enjoy every moment I can soak it up. But I am tired. Well, it's actually a very good spot to be!

Why? You ask. Because I read last week in 2 Corinthians 7:6 that God encourages the discouraged. He can't encourage you if you are already encouraged. He'd be filling up a full cup. So being discouraged gives Him an empty (or partially empty) cup to pour Himself into. That's why it's such a good spot. God is faithful.

David encouraged himself in the Lord.  He was in a tough spot. The soldiers he'd fought alongside of didn't trust him anymore. He was abandoned. Then when he returned home to Ziklag, he found it ransacked by the enemy. They'd taken all their goods and all their people. His wives were missing. It says that he encouraged himself in the Lord. ( 1 Samuel 30)

It didn't say he reminded himself of what a great soldier he'd been. He didn't tell himself how strong and mighty he was. He didn't even remind himself of how he took out a giant with a sling and a stone. He encouraged himself in the Lord. To me that says he reminded himself of how great God was. I imagine he said, now David - you know God is faithful even when men are not. David - remember that God has His hand on you and He won't let you go. God knows your thoughts, your intents - your heart. God trusts you in this situation. He can still be trusted.

Encouragement that sticks is just that - reminding ourselves of who God is and all He's already done. He has carried us to this point in time and He will not abandon us now. He will always remain faithful to us - He will always be our caregiver, our shepherd, our loving Father, pastor, and comforter. And the list could go on and on. 

Today, I will remind myself of how far He has brought me and how He has stayed with me. I'll be thankful that He is patient and continues to keep my soul day after day and night after long night. He's not going anywhere. He's still got this. David said it this way - He's the lifter of my head. I will trust Him, the encourager, for one more day. Will you join me?


PS- The print version of 31 Days in Psalm 31 just released on Amazon today! Get your copy or your Kindle copy for just $5. 

It's Waiting for You


Do you ever get tired? Who am I talking to? Right? If you are reading this you are probably a caregiver. We live tired. lol. Our "normal" day schedules contain more activity and tasks than a lot of people do in a week. There's no doubt we get tired. And of course, there's always those cute little add-ins like my son coughing all night for the last three nights to make that tiredness dig in just a little bit deeper.

Of course, there are a few things I've learned in the natural that can help with that a bit. Like, if I get a chance, I'll take a nap. Maybe I'll try to go to bed a little earlier tonight. Tiredness leads to fatigue and if we are not careful to caregiver burnout. Having some help is great even if it comes from a bad aid. Lol. I try to exercise a little every day to combat fatigue. And I try to get some fresh air and sunshine if it's only taking the trash out.

But this tired can be deep and it needs some relief from the spiritual side. That's why I spent some time meditating on Hebrews 4:8-11 this morning. It explains to the reader that there is a rest for the people of God. It also says sometimes it's a lot of work to get there. But I love verse 9 in the New Living Translation. It says this: So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. 

Now, I understand our rest is "way beyond the blue" as the old hymn said. But I believe there's some rest for this weary soul right here and right now too. Isaiah says that He gives strength to those who wait on Him. (Isaiah 40:31) And I'm pretty sure we are not going to need it as much once we pass to the other side. It must be for us for right now!

My goal for today is to find that place of rest in Him, that place of rest that is waiting for me and you. He so longs for us to crawl up into Him and rest. It doesn't make everything settle down. It doesn't mean every trial and struggle will go away. But it does mean that He gives us strength for one more day. 

Today, I will seek that place of rest - not on the couch, not on the bed, not even in my afternoon nap (if I get one) - but hidden in Him. I'll let Him wash away the sweat and the tears from these long days and I will let Him have control again while I rest. As we rest in Him - we find the strength to carry on for one more day. Will you join me in this pursuit of being hidden in Him - just for today?


If you enjoy these daily devotionals, check out 31 Days in Psalm 31. It is now available on Kindle. (And it's just $5!)

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