Have you taken care of your ill husband for a long period of time? Perhaps he is still alive, but you know he isn’t going to get better and so caregivers stress has become part of your everyday life.
This is where you need to show yourself the same kindness that you show others.
Give yourself a break by carving out time for your spiritual needs. We typically stop going to church or synagogue when we take on the care of a loved one because we think it’s no longer a priority. But we need this support even more at this time.
Learn to savor small moments of joy. Sometimes a daily twenty minutes to treat yourself to something as simple as a cup of coffee away from home or a walk outside, is just what you need.
Rather than bottle up your exhaustion, fear and frustration, take pen and paper and write it all out. Dump it all out on paper, then destroy it by ripping up – it will give you an emotional release.
Ask others to remember that he may have changed, but he is still the same person on the inside. To have patience as there will be times when he is hard to deal with.
As a caregiver it helps to learn all that you can about your loved one’s condition. Knowledge is power as it can guide you and instill confidence when you’re faced with decisions about their care.
Caregiving is a selfless act and something we want to do, but don’t get caught in the trap of trying to do it all. Seek help so you don’t get burned out and put your own health at risk. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are part of your team. But it shouldn’t stop there. Enroll family members or friends to also be part of your team so that you can have some time away, even if it is only twenty minutes to yourself.
It helps to have a confidante: a friend or loved one who can help you process, and then set aside a grueling day. Or try speaking with professionals whom you like and trust – chances are they can empathize with you like no one else, and also give you some coping skills.
Remember that it’s not selfish to make time to heal and replenish yourself – in fact, it’s the responsible and absolutely necessary thing for you to do. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself, so seek out some balance and joy in your life.