Jennifer Cares

I was so honored to share my experiences as a family caregiver, along with make life easier strategies for caregivers at an American Cancer Society Survivor’s Conference over the weekend. 350 or so cancer survivors and their caregivers were there.  Their faces…their stories will be with me for a long time. 

As I sit here to write about kicking off our week in a hopeful way, my mind goes to those sweet people.  I’m thinking about their smiles and the thoughts they shared with me about how they hang on to hope.

That word “survivor” keeps popping into my head.  It seems perfect, because what I’d really like to do with these Monday posts is to help us all become Survivors of Hoplessness.

We have talked before about how caring for a loved one who is sick or dying can feel extremely exhausting, overwhelming, and yes…hopeless. 

Hopelessness makes us do things we normally wouldn’t do, say things we wouldn’t normally say, and think things we wouldn’t normally think.

Survivors have experienced low points and find a way to push through fears, confusion, and fatigue and keep on going. Having gone through the low’s gives survivors unique perspective, and a special kind of inner-strength.  Yes, survivors have strong, sweet hearts.

So, in a quest to become a Survivor of Hopelessness, here’s a thought to help you build or maintain a higher level hope for the week:

Strategy for Hope
Reality Check: Nothing is Guaranteed

Today and this week, focus on the reality that none of us has true control over our lives. And then here’s the twist:  don’t be scared or upset by that, smile and have a little fun thinking about the possibilities that could present themselves as part of that concept!

So, although we are creatures of habit and many of us crave routine and order. Try to manage your reaction to all the little “whammies” that life throws your way this week. Work on retraining that brain to see those whammies as surprise opportunities…great little gifts!

Spring construction season has work crews blocking your fastest route to work? Don’t zip though the detour grumbling the whole way. Take a breath.  Look around.  Take in the new sights.  Try to find one new place to visit…a little shop or restaurant? Hmmm…look at that…what great luck that the detour happened to be in place today!

Psychologists I’ve intervewed agree that we all have the power to retrain our brains in that way…the more we think it, the more we’ll feel it.  Moving our thoughts to a more positive nature will make it much easier for us to feel higher levels of hope.

What do ya think? Easier said than done? Or do-able…at least try-able?! 

Have a positive, hopeful week!





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