Yes, November in America is also about Thanksgiving and practicing gratitude. BUT, this can be a sticky wicket for family caregivers. It may surprise you to learn that many family caregivers struggle with being grateful for where God has them right now.
This caregiving journey is hard and maybe you never planned to be here, and you find yourself on the back burner most of the time or forgotten altogether. Yes, being a family caregiver is difficult, but that doesn’t mean you get to forget about caring for yourself. That would be giving up and you, my friend, are not a quitter!
Gratitude – Here’s why you should stop struggling and start practicing
In the article in Psychology Today, Self-Care and Gratitude: How They Go Hand in Hand, Najma Khorrami M.P.H. writes, “A gratitude practice promotes exercise, better nutrition, better sleep, and not smoking, among other things.”
From the 2021 article in Henery Ford Health, Gratitude as Self-Care, we see how “Studies have shown that practicing gratitude reduces depression and anxiety; enhances empathy and reduces aggression; helps improve sleep, and more.“
“Simply, gratitude is the state of being thankful for what already exists.” (www.henryford.com)
I think you can see that it’s not just a November thing. Developing a regular practice of gratitude is just one more way you get to take care of YOU (not to mention the residual benefits your loved one will likely enjoy, too). Choose to practice gratitude and the self-care rewards will follow. And doing so improves and/or maintains our physical, mental, and spiritual health. How will you choose (click here for more)?
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
And finally, despite our caregiving situation, and I know firsthand that they can be more difficult than you ever imagined, we can and should thoughtfully choose to not only rejoice, as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians, but be grateful regardless of our situation. Being a family caregiver is likely the most challenging role you’ll have and finding something to be grateful for may be hard, but think about it for a minute.
- Do you have the caregiving supplies you need?
- We have Telehealth visits that make it easier to speak with a doctor.
- You may have an understanding employer.
- YouTube has all kinds of health and wellness resources for you to participate in at home.
- Jesus loves you.
- He is with you every step of the way and that is reason enough to be grateful.
Being thankful that we can care for ourselves (and our loved ones) might be a great place to start your gratitude practice. Will you purposefully and mindfully choose to work on that today?