Updated: Jan 11, 2020
Hello, Thank you and welcome back to Healing Minds. A place where we work on our mental strength daily to live a healthy life.
Today’s topic is very important to me. It is for caregivers of loved ones with a serious medical condition or a terminal illness. Since this was a big part of my journey, I know it is the same for other women.
In my book Miracles in Between, I share ways we must take care of ourselves while we care for a loved one. We deal with an enormous amount of emotions such as fear, anxiety, depression, and frustration.
Self-care is crucial if you don’t want to break and want to continue your journey, compassionately taking care of your loved one. The Miracles In Between are the amazing moments between medical intervention whether having deep conversations and spending time together in a meaningful way.
This also has to do with not giving up. This journey takes and an incredible amount of courage and resilience.
Your personal story is probably inspirational. and know the power lies with you to be the best version of yourself for your loved one.
I learned to develop strength through my emotional pain and step up to situations that got tough and to be in medical settings which I did not choose. I did not have resilience coming into this journey, but with time it showed that my presence created it.
Here are the Healing Minds Power Tips to effectively
take care of your well being while being the best caregiver.
1. Have positive social connections. This can include a family member, friend, caregiver support group, or mentor. Not everyone will be on your side. Family or friends may be too busy or not be able to participate or you may not want help from certain people. Have at least one positive form of communication with one person or a group to ease the toughness. It may be useful to connect with other caregivers who are working with the same illness. Do an online search for caregiver groups in your area.
2. You will also see who is a true friend or family member when you reach out for help. There will be strained relationships during this time, but you have to manage them quickly and efficiently especially if they are helping. You are taxed so don’t feel the need to get together with a lot of people during this time and may need to eliminate friendships or put them on hold.
3. Create space for solitude. You are required to give a lot of your time to your loved one and possibly other relationships, especially if you have kids. Take frequent breaks to be alone. This is when you can gain peace, reflect and decide the course of action you want to take moving forward.
4. You can take part in activities such as going to a spa, reading a good book, listening to soft music, meditating, journal writing, walking in nature, or working on a craft project. Anything that will bring more peace.
5. Maintain a spiritual Practice: You may follow a religion or a spiritual practice. Read scripture, positive passages or listen to an inspirational podcast daily. Set time to meditate, pray, tune into your intuition, and be creative in activities to nurture your spiritual being. You can also use gratitude by writing down what is working. This may be extremely difficult as you are bombarded with bad news or overwhelming physical or mental symptoms from your loved one due to medication or treatment.
That is why I created the Miracles in Between journal to focus on not always on the negative, but the good moments you have together. Were you able to go out of the house, on a trip, have a deep conversation, have lunch or dinner together where their symptoms are stable? It's the time between crisis and time off to enjoy special moments together.
Managing your psychological health can be very challenging during this time. The panic, worry, distress, and depression consumes you and at times it seems unbearable to move forward wishing there was no resistance. You can get angry if something is not working out or not having any support from medical staff or family.
Fear can consume you as symptoms get worse, or the fear of losing your loved one. The best way is to acknowledge all uncomfortable emotions and do not deny them. Cry, get angry, and get anxious, but then remind yourself you need to be present and your loved one needs you.
You learn the skill of deep breathing as that will be necessary most of the time, ask for help, and have conversations with your loved one, and share how both of you are feeling.
Vent out your feelings in a journal which provides release or share with a trusted person who understands you.
How do you develop resilience?
You may think it is impossible or don’t consider yourself resilient as this is a very sensitive time. Crying or being uncomfortable or fearful does not mean you are not resilient. You are taking a difficult situation and moving forward the best way. Your capacity to care and be selfless is amazing. You are resilient.
Live in the present of “one day at a time”. It is difficult, but you ease into it day by day. Then you get adjusted to your “new normal.” I had to learn to do this and it was definitely not natural. Instead of the panic and fear of the eventual passing of my mom as the prognosis was not good, I chose to take the day to day activities and maximize my time with her which I did. It took practice and it is something I highly practice today.
Know that you are strong and it takes tremendous courage and love for what you are contributing.
If you have any comments, feedback, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thanks so much for joining me and please check out the next episode.
This is Tania, and until next time, A healthy lifestyle begins with the mind.