Caregiver, are you lonely? Keep reading for some simple tips to combat this growing epidemic.
It has been said that one of the greatest tools of the enemy is isolation. Most single people, parents of high-strung children, caregivers, people who suffer from a chronic illness, and individuals who have experienced severe trauma are lonely. The challenges they deal with are faced in isolation.
Societal implications on loneliness:
Our society does not help this dilemma due to the nucleus of the family dispersing. The “American Dream” tells young people to move out of their parent’s house and get a home of their own, away from their family. As families disband, the support system does as well.
The impetus for this writing came from an interview I heard recently. I was listening to a preacher talk about the prayer line he had established, in conjunction with his ministerial giving phone line. He imagined people would call in to contribute to feeding the poor and homeless. However, he said that 80% of the calls received were from people saying they were lonely and had no one to pray with.
Does that describe you? You might have children running around the house all day long and a husband who comes home exhausted each night, yet you still have no one to talk with.
Does your world seem dark and lonely?
Yes, we live in a dark world (John3:19). But, Jesus said, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).
Today’s tip is something fun to bring light into your dark time of caregiving. Eleven years ago, I was working as the social services coordinator for a local non-profit. In an effort to cheer the downtrodden caregivers, I created stress boxes for them.
At that time, there were almost 20 caregivers and resources were tight. First, I solicited the help of a retail business who donated the boxes. Next, the spouses of the caregivers decorated the boxes. Thirdly, I glued a fact sheet about the warning signs of stress and some ideas of how to handle stress, on the inside lid of each box. Finally, the boxes were filled with motivational sayings.
The boxes were distributed to the caregivers, with the admonition that their boxes could be used in three different ways:
- Take out a slip of paper and read it each day for encouragement.
- Throw away the slips of paper and use the empty box as a complaint box.
- In the event of an extraordinarily bad day, take any frustrations out on the box and not on the person being cared for.
Number three was purely humorous, to get the group laughing, but I would not have been offended if someone had taken me up on it. I have heard many caregivers speak about needing to kick a chair or punch a wall. Some overwhelmed mothers of stubborn and rebellious children have even admitted to cutting themselves. (We never want anyone to be in such a depressive state that they harm themselves, so please seek medical attention if necessary.)
After making and distributing the boxes, I did not think much more about them. Then, earlier this year, I was given one by a sweet friend. My friend put fun quotes inside, which propelled me to make little quote boxes as gifts too.
To make your own, or to give one to a friend, follow these simple instructions-
Step 1- Find a container you like.
Step 2- Look up your favorite scriptures or quotes. You can hand write them or type them. To simplify this idea, just purchase a quote book and cut out your favorites.
Step 3- Fold the small pieces of paper.
Step 4- Assemble.
fight darkness with light:
If you are going through dark times and challenges now, I encourage you to fight that darkness by being the light. You can be the light by doing something like this little craft for your friends.
By encouraging others, you will bring joy to yourself. These stress boxes are fun gifts to make for friends who are in the hospital, going through trials, or having a birthday.
Also, these are easy crafts to make for gifts. You could make several copies of the same quotes and assemble all the boxes at one time. If you have young children, or if you are caring for someone who is older and wants to help, solicit their services for the cutting and folding.
Giving to people lonelier than yourself:
Additionally, you might consider stopping by a nursing home. Ask the staff which residents will not have any visitors. Making a quick visit, to the room of an individual who has no one, reaches out to the loneliest of lonely.
If you spend time with someone who is lonelier than yourself, you will actually help decrease your own loneliness. Click here for a story about a woman who used her struggles to encourage others.
Likewise, you can brighten your own world by encouraging yourself, just like King David encouraged himself during difficulties. (Click here for more tips on encouraging yourself.)
Hints for the home-bound:
There are times we cannot leave our homes. In those instances, continue to uplift yourself and pray for world events around you. Since you have access to a computer, you could find online prayer groups and communities- you already found one by looking at this site.
Caregiver, times may be dark and lonely now, but Light is coming (John 12:46). Light is coming!
What about you?
Please comment below about your favorite suggestions to bring light into darkness. Or, leave us your favorite caregiver quotes and poems.