The Loop of Compassion: Caring for Our Caregivers
By Dr. Seamus Phan
While we often constantly hold the plight of our beneficiaries dear to our hearts, and think of how best we can serve and care for them, have we thought the same for our caregivers?
The world is a closed loop, where the actions of a person affects another, and another, and eventually, comes back either to reward, or to haunt this person, depending on whether the actions were kind or evil. In an ever-shrinking world where we are easily connected by the technology of the Internet, Voice-over-IP telephony, and supersonic air travel, it has become much easier to develop friendships, or to create enemies. After all, the relay of communication today is defined in seconds, not days or months. We are more accountable for our actions, since people can easily find out and communicate our actions to others. If we treat people nicely, it is far more likely people will reciprocate with the same. Conversely, if we treat people badly, we can only expect disdain from others.
Therefore, while we sincerely hope that our caregivers relentlessly care and embrace our beneficiaries, who truly need our attention and care, we also need to replenish and recharge the inner energy of our caregivers, so that they can continue to take care of the beneficiaries.
How can we do that?
Lending a listening ear
Caregivers are much like everyone else, and need to be listened to, more than they need to listen, especially after their already long draining work hours. When they take care of the needy, they can become emotionally drained, especially since they have to embrace the emotive difficulties, as well as the physical challenges of the beneficiaries. Often, it demand a superhuman inner strength to take care of the beneficiaries day in and day out without fail, and with the same professional and compassionate consistency.
We can help, as executives, media, or event the public, by becoming an ad hoc social support group for our caregivers. Whenever they need to unburden themselves emotionally by letting go verbally, even at length, lend them our strong shoulders, listen wholeheartedly, and lend them our firmest grip. Sometimes, in a rather pressurizing society which places materials demands on people, it can be difficult to continue as a caregiver when sometimes, even close family members may not empathize with the caregiver’s chosen calling. This is when we, as executives, the media, or the public, can herald the caregivers’ efforts, and become their support group.
Giving practical help
Above that of emotive support, we can offer real practical help to our caregivers.
For example, it is very likely that caregivers may have to spend a lot of time at work, and may not have time to bank in their checks, buy necessities, or even to eat their meals regularly. We can offer to run these little errands on their behalf, and gently nudge them to eat their meals, or buy the meals for them. If we are close to our caregivers, we may even offer to clean their homes now and then. If we are able, we can even offer to tend to our beneficiaries momentarily while our caregivers take a short lunch break, or get 10 minutes of rest to recharge.
Whenever a major exercise is completed, such as a public event, we can write appreciative thank-you notes to our caregivers individually. Put our hearts into the writing of such notes with our true genuine feelings. It would mean a great deal to our tireless caregivers.
Let them rest
We need to be empathetic and sensitive to our caregivers on a daily basis, especially as colleagues and managers.
If we sense that a particular caregiver is near cracking point, offer to have another person relief the caregiver temporarily for a couple of hours or more as we see fit. Emotional burdens can be compounded and spread to others, and it would be unwise to allow a drained caregiver to unload his or her emotional burden unintentionally to beneficiaries.
In such scenarios, we can offer to allow our tired caregivers hours off work to rest at home, or if it is at all possible, offer them anti-stress sessions of yoga, massage, or reflexology, especially if we can the public support through sponsorships. Otherwise, it may even be possible to provide basic massage or yoga training to all our colleagues, and we can then become “caregivers” for each other at work.
In instances when caregivers fall sick, it is important that we insist that they stay home and rest adequately. After all, modern medicine can only do so much for the majority of seasonal contagious diseases, and rest is ultimately the best medicine.
Completing the loop of compassion
While we imagine our caregivers to relentlessly provide care for our beneficiaries, it is so important to also know they are as mortal as we are, and require the same love and care from all of us. It is only when we complete the loop of compassion by providing care to our caregivers, will our caregivers be able to perpetuate the love and care to our beneficiaries tirelessly.
Dr Seamus Phan (http://seamusphan.com) is a leading author, keynote speaker, coach, and naturopathic philosopher. Seamus consults for international companies, governments and emerging enterprises around the world. Copyright (c) 1990-2007 Seamus Phan. All rights reserved.
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