This past week has been a hard one. For years I have slowly lost my dad to dementia. The smartest man I have ever known, the one who led our family on many adventures, and always pushed me to do my best, no longer recognizes me as his daughter. My mom has stood by his side being his ever-present caregiver and serving as his “brain.” But the time has come, and we all knew it would – someday is what we always called it. But someday arrived, and we moved my dad into memory care. Although this has been years in the making, crossing the bridge to memory care is heartbreaking.
His new “home” is beautiful and staffed with loving caregivers. He is safe and even with Covid – we are able to visit. He likes the food, has made new “friends”, and the transition is hard and full of new and more heightened confusion. My mom and I have had many conversations this week as our family navigates these new waters. Grief and sorrow is not new to our family. Loss has taught us how to pull on our strength, lean on faith, and move forward.
So today I thought I would share some ideas on findinging your personal strength when the going gets tough.
Life is always ready to present you with hardships and challenges. That’s just a fact. Your power lies how you handle the tougher moments. When you encounter those bumps in the road, how do you react? Are you able to deal effectively with these challenges without going to pieces? Could you use some help in finding your inner strength?
Finding Your Personal Strength When the Going Gets Tough
Try these ideas to tap in to your personal reserves whenever the going gets tough:
Acknowledge your fears about the situation. Before you can show resilience to move forward, it’s important to recognize any fears that have a bearing on your current circumstances. Ignoring them will only serve to thwart you from confronting the issue. I like to write a letter to my fears. It helps me get it all out, and acknowledge the fear I have. Once I acknowledge the fear, I am much more easily able to set it aside and move forward.
Consider every option. Writing down your options for overcoming your challenge will help you see the situation from all angles.
- Brainstorming as many solutions as you can is a great start to finding a workable option.
- Be open-minded. Sometimes you have to remind yourself to not automatically screen out possible solutions. Every viable possibility should be considered.
- Considering every possible solution indicates you have the resilience to succeed.
Approach the challenge with positivity. It may sound over-simplified, but you can either approach a stumbling block thinking, “I don’t think I’m going to survive it” or “I’m going to do my best and make my way through this situation.” Taking a positive outlook will compel you to move forward through the crisis. Be optimistic!
Avoid looking too far ahead. Focus on what’s going on in this moment. Sometimes, it helps to make it through one hour at a time.
- Concentrate your energy on what you can do in the here and now.
Pray. Draw from your faith to help you through. Spirituality regularly assists millions of people to live consistently healthy, happy lives. Perhaps finding faith would bring you the inner strength you desire.
Seek emotional support from those you love. Any troubling event is easier to navigate through when you feel the love and support from someone close to you. Bolster your “resilience reserves” by getting a little help from your friends and family members.
- Although it might be difficult for you to reach out and say, “I’m struggling,” look at it this way: your loved ones will feel better if you give them opportunities to be there for you. Accept the loving and supportive care that your loved ones are so willing to provide. You’ll likely have a chance in the future to reciprocate.
Soothe your spirit. What calms you down, makes you feel peace, and brings you simple joy? Take time to participate in your favorite activities to soothe your frayed emotions.
- Taking a walk in the woods, swimming a few laps at the pool, or doing a hand craft or hobby at home can be one of the most self-soothing things you can do when you’re experiencing a tricky life phase.
Embrace your strength. Remember that your strength has pulled you through many crises in the past. Have confidence that it can continue to bolster you through many more.
My dad has always been my hero and I have shared stories in the past at Life Lessons From My Dad – A Father’s Wisdom and The First Important People in my Life – My Mom & Dad. I have also written about Alzheimer’s and shared an interview in Unconditional Love and Caring for a Family Member with Alzheimer’s Disease
Life can be exciting, fun, challenging, and sad. When you encounter a hardship, allow your resilience to shine through. These strategies can help you draw on your inner strength to live a meaningful, enriched existence, no matter what type of challenge you encounter.
I had to go thru this with my mom and it was heartbreaking. I kept waking up in the middle of the night wondering if she was scared or confused or sad. It’s so hard. Appreciate your honesty. Hugs to your family and mom.
Hi Alice, thank you. I still get to talk on the phone with my dad – holding up a light chatter with him, repeatedly telling him who I am, where I am, where he is – we can still share a laugh. My dad, a true Irishman, has the gift of gab. Even though it doesn’t make sense, he still knows how to chat. But the worry is always present. He is confused and easily agitated. He is looking for home. I take solace in that I trust his caregivers. I have been very impressed with their level of care. Many others, like you, have also traveled this road. Maybe one day there will be a way to treat alzheimer’s and dementia. Take care!
Thank you for always being brave enough to share your heart, and heartache, along with ways to cope. This was published at a much needed time, so I thank you. Sending caring thoughts and strength to you and your family.
Thank you! I am so touched to hear that my words have helped in any small measure. Life is beautiful and hard all at the same time. Hugs to you and the kids! <3