People in the helping professions care a lot. Caregivers can get so caught up in caring for others, that they sometimes forget to take care of their own needs. Those who are in the position of providing care for others must be sure to charge their own battery from time to time. It can be difficult to help others if you, yourself are in need. It’s important to recognize the signs of caregiver stress early in ourselves, and take steps to manage it.
In the Mandt System, we propose the “Four Walls of the House”, adapted from Sir Mason Durie’s work with the Maori people, as a model for developing a culture of resilience for the individuals we serve. This model applies to our own lives, as well, and can help guide us in our own self care.
Psychological Health: How am I thinking about my current situation? Are my thoughts negative or positive? Can I reframe how I am thinking? How am I feeling? Am I frustrated or overwhelmed? What can I do to manage these feelings?
Family/Social Health: How are things at home? How is my personal support network? Am I surrounding myself with positive and supportive people? Have I taken the time to nurture the relationships that are important to me?
Spiritual Health: Do I have hope? Am I taking time to engage in my religious or spiritual practices such as prayer or meditation?
Physical Health: Am I seeing a healthcare professional regularly? Do I get enough sleep? If I take medications, am I taking them correctly? Do I get enough exercise? Do I eat balanced meals?
Building up these “four walls” can help a caregiver to build resilience, and to manage the stress that can so often accompany caregiving. With the stress managed, we can focus on the joys of helping others.
John Windsor – Mandt Faculty