Challenges are part of everyday life. For caregivers, the problems they face are different than ordinary folks, since they are constantly loaded with physical, emotional, and mental stress. Anyone who provides direct patient care can attest to this. Every caregiver has their own horror stories, and many are proud that even though they’ve been through a lot, they pulled it off and became a better version of themselves.
We like to think of seasoned caregivers as oysters. When an oyster experiences an irritation, it produces layer upon layer of protective coating around the irritant. The encapsulated irritant becomes a silky pearl. In the end, the oysters turn a difficult situation into a treasure!
Similarly, the various challenges in caregiving can pave the way for personal growth and emotional maturity.
Here are ways that caregiving can help you grow as a person:
1. You learn invaluable lessons.
Caregiving teaches a person about compassion, kindness, and patience, the same basic elements that define humanity. You'll come to appreciate ideas such as:
Health is wealth.
Silence is a virtue.
Speak when you are angry, and you'll make the best speech you'll ever regret.
The goal isn’t to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.
Caring for a patient is tough, and you need to embrace all the lessons to get the most from your experience.
2. You develop effective coping mechanisms.
The brain is such a powerful organ that people devise ways to overcome challenges both consciously and otherwise. Caregivers who continuously strive to be better at what they do become stronger and wiser over the years. They can handle higher levels of stress without losing their sanity or the will to continue serving others.
3. You learn to depend on yourself.
Although working as a caregiver makes you part of the healthcare team, you realize you need to rely on your own knowledge and skills to accomplish tasks assigned to you. You become efficient at finding ways to make your job easier, so you also hone your problem-solving and decision-making skills—things you also need outside work that will take you closer to your personal goals.
4. You learn to admit that there are times you need help.
As much as you would like to do it all, there’s a limit to how far you can push yourself. This is another life lesson that helps you grow as a caregiver.
Work should not be the only highlight of your daily life. There should be a healthy balance between caregiving and other aspects such as family, social life, and personal time.
Realizing your own limitations helps you easily determine when help is necessary. You'll find support and assistance if you look for it. In the end, you'll feel grateful because you realize you just badly needed a rest.
5. You come to accept that you’re not perfect, and neither are your patients or coworkers.
In caregiving, you come to terms with the reality that no one is perfect. There will be moments you show your fiery side. You'll make mistakes and your patient eventually loses it. Your coworker can also snap at you for apparently no reason.
However, the significance lies in how people control their emotions and circumstances. You'll also understand that much of the learning comes from failure and picking up the pieces afterward. So, you become more forgiving and accepting of things you cannot change and focus on what you can control.
Caregiving is one of the most noble jobs in the world and something good is bound to come of it, even amidst problems. When caregiving gives you lemons, make lemonade. Find the pearl among your hardships.
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