Only a person who has provided direct care for a loved one with a serious illness can fully appreciate how much emotional and physical energy is required of the caregiver. As the caregiver, providing this type of support often becomes the focus of your life and your life becomes structured around the needs of your loved one.
Caregivers run the risk of becoming run-down physically, emotionally and spiritually. Spirituality is difficult to define. It has to do with a sense of connectedness to something larger, a sense of personal wholeness, and a sense of being accepted even with our imperfections and limitations.
The following is a list of suggestions for helping to maintain your spiritual wellness.
As a caregiver, the temptation is to spend less time for yourself in favor of caring for your loved one. This is unavoidable. However, experts warn brushing your own needs aside with selfless devotion can backfire. It is difficult, but necessary to find time for things such as meditation, prayer or participating in your faith community’s worship service.
These are the times that you truly need to know that you are not alone. Isolation can be deadly to the spirit. Keeping even brief and less frequent contact with friends and other sources of support is essential to maintaining spiritual balance. If your belief system includes a higher power, regularly include this higher power in your life. This is not a time for a polite conversation.
Honor Your Emotions
This includes the feelings you would rather not share with anyone. Emotions can alert us to problems that we may not fully recognize. They can be the signal that you need more support or that it is time to speak with someone who can provide the support you need
Honor Your Limitations
Be gentle with yourself. Be forgiving of yourself. Look upon yourself as you would look upon another who is facing your challenge.
The Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center makes it a priority to provide support to the family and caregivers of our patients. Our support services and staff are available to our patients and their families too!