Are you caring for an aging parent, or possibly a spouse? All the more reason to repeat that word--rest--and actually put it into practice.
The statistics on caregiver burnout are frightening
- 40% to $70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with approximately a quarter to half of these caregivers meeting the diagnostic criteria for major depression, according to Zant S. Assessment of Family Caregivers: A Research Perspective.
- Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely. The level of stress can take as much as 10 years off a caregiver's life. From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dec. 7, 2004.
By resting--taking breaks, exercising, or whatever you do to calm yourself, you can help beat the odds.
We all have Achille's heels--areas of weakness that are prone to injury, disease or breakdown. Some of us are worriers, borrowing trouble from tomorrow, which robs us of joy today. I'll raise my hand to that one.
At one point my worry over my aging parents' health, especially Daddy's progresssing Parkinson's Disease, got so out of control that I asked myself, "What do I do?" I had read about people breaking habits by wearing a rubber band on a wrist. When a "bad" thought came to mind, the person would snap the rubber band to gently remind him or her to stop. My rubber band experiment started at the beginning of Lent. For 40 days my wrists got snapped multiple times a day. The pain was sufficient to get my attention, but not enough to torture me. On Easter, the end of the experiment, I took stock of my thoughts. I wasn't worry free. The rubber band did leave an impression, though. It awakened me to the extent of my worry.
I still fight it. I do know that if I stop and rest, whatever rest may look like at the moment, I find peace and calm.
Rest. Rest. Rest