When someone you love has a terminal illness or receives an otherwise daunting prognosis, it’s natural to focus your energies on helping them to fight his or her disease. Your social life, family life, and even professional life may suddenly take a backseat to the needs of your ailing loved one. Consequently, when people assume the caregiver’s role for months, or even years, it’s not uncommon for them to see their own health suffer. Yet, you will be in a much better position to help your family member or friend when you are feeling your best. Attaining a state of wellness that makes caregiving sustainable is easy with a few proven tips.
Remember, You’re A Caregiver And So Much More
For those of us whose dear friends or family are sick, time can be filled with doctor’s appointments, pharmacy visits, and simply making them comfortable. In the midst of all this activity, many of us lose sight of who we were before illness came into our lives. Staying connected to the activities and interests that make you who you are is an important factor in maintaining your health. Such activities recharge the heart and the body with healthy neurochemicals like serotonin. What’s more, the feelings of peace and curiosity that they elicit act as counterbalances to challenging emotions like grief, fatigue, or frustration.
Nourish Yourself, That You May Nurture Others.
No matter how noble our intentions may be the fact remains that none of us has access to an endless source of energy. Proper nourishment plays a crucial role in your ability to take good care of those who need you, so be mindful of your food choices. It’s all too easy to rely on vending machines and late night food deliveries when your days seem like a whirlwind. However, investing just a few hours each week to prepare your own healthy meals will yield exceptional benefits. Cutting out the processed sugars and carbohydrates of vending machine snacks will prevent your energy from taking a nosedive in the middle of the day. Choosing fruits and vegetables that are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants will help your body to stave off illness. Keep snacks handy that travel easily, like baby carrots, individual packets of almond butter, fresh fruit, and trail mix. Setting aside one or two evenings to prepare several freezer-friendly meals at once will greatly reduce your consumption of processed, expensive restaurant food, and may even provide an opportunity to spend meaningful time with your family.
To seek support as a caregiver might seem like an obvious step to take. Yet many caregivers are reluctant to do so. What’s more, so many of us feel so overwhelmed by responsibilities that emotions are placed on the back burner. That’s why it’s so important to keep a journal to record thoughts, feelings, memories, and dreams for the future. For those whose loved ones have received a diagnosis of a terminal illness like mesothelioma, connecting with one’s internal experience can facilitate healthier, more rapid processing of difficult emotions, even grief. Journaling will help you to sort these feelings out and gain insight. Often, it is this healing brand of new understanding that is the most helpful of all.
“Melanie Bowen is an awareness advocate for natural health and holistic therapies for cancer patients. You will often find her highlighting the great benefits of different nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those with illness in her efforts to increase attentiveness and responsiveness on like topics”