Care for the Caregivers

Care for caregivers

Are you helping a loved one through a long term illness?  Then you are a caregiver.  

This can be a difficult thing.  It can rob you of your autonomy.  You may feel a tremendous responsibility for your loved one.  This can bring stress, anxiety and worry.  You forget to take care of yourself.  

There are many feelings that caregivers experience.  

Feeling of sadness or grief.  The need to let go of how life used to be with your loved one and experiencing how life is now.  This is a normal reaction to life’s situation.  However, if you have a prolonged time of sadness, you may be experiencing depression.  

Anger can manifest out of stress, anxiety, frustration or worry.  This is a common reaction as well.  It is important to try to see the why of the anger.  Sometimes it can be as simple as not getting enough sleep.  Sometimes it can be much deeper and reflect feelings caused by actions done by the loved one in the past.  This type of deep anger is best addressed by a professional counselor.  

Guilt is common. The thoughts of not doing enough or doing it inadequately.  Thoughts of what life might be like without the burden of caring for your loved one.  All these thoughts are normal and common.  Most of the time they are fleeting.   But if they become overwhelming, a professional counselor is needed.  

Loneliness is also common.  Caring for a love one can be an isolating task.  Sometimes there is not time for friends or outside hobbies.  You don’t feel others would understand what you are going through and you can find it difficult to talk about.  

In these situations you need to ask for help from other family members or friends.  Make time for yourself to do the things that you need to do such as hobbies, exercise, sharing time with friends.  Care for your body with eating and sleeping well.  See your physician on a regular basis.  Do healthy things to eliminate stress such as prayer/mediation, exercise, hobbies.  Lastly find meaning in the situation you are in.  We grow spiritually from times of difficulties.  We can find love, support and meaning in small and ordinary places.