What is the " It" in "Keeping It Together" especially while dealing with COVID-19? You, as a family caregiver, may think "it" refers to having the resources required to provide the best care for your chronically ill family member. As a human being, you may think "it" means maintaining a healthy state of mind. As the author of Keeping It Together, I consider "it" in the context of you as a human being who is providing care, prompted by the featured words of a framework to help you cope: Acknowledge, Assess, Assist
The Toll of the Role: Being a caregiver is hard work and depending on the needs, the job could require 24/7 attention. Physical distancing and the stresses of COVID-19 can make it harder. Even if the physical job is not around the clock, the worries could be around the clock. You may be worrying about a family member who lives alone and has limited mobility, resisting any help. Whether physically or mentally, caring for others can take "its" toll on you as a human being.
The First Step to Coping Well: There is no choice but to cope during this unprecedented situation while caregiving. You do have choice though on how you are going to cope. The first step is to commit to the intention of coping well. "It" takes on a new meaning when you acknowledge in facing reality, assess the impact on you how you are reacting and assist with appropriate strategies. By doing so, you are empowered to self monitor with self awareness.
Prevent Losing "It": In most cases, the caregiving job comes to you rather than you coming to the job. If you did not feel frustrated before COVID-19, you may feel frustrated now. Whether by choice or by default, you likely take on the role dutifully as an obligation, assuring that your family member receives the best quality care. If you are providing most of the care, you may do so by losing your"self" in the process as you become immersed in the role. By self monitoring with self awareness, you can assist by acknowledging and assessing if you are losing your"self".
Where is the humanity if "it" gets lost in the caregiving? "It" is remembering that you are only human. "It" is remembering yourself in the mix, treating yourself kindly with self care, and allowing yourself to feel. In order to be an effective assisting caregiver for your family member, you have to be a caregiver assisting yourself as well. That includes reaching out to others for assistance.
Back to the question...What is the "It" in Keeping It Together?
"It" is a juggling act to cope, doing the family caregiving to the best of your ability without losing your "self" in the process. Acknowledge, Assess, Assist for yourself....
To learn more about the juggling act of coping as a family caregiver, preview:
Keeping It Together: How to Cope as a Family Caregiver without Losing Your Sanity