Being a family caregiver for a loved one who needs help with medical, emotional, physical, or cognitive challenges can be amazing. It can also take a toll on your body, mind and spirit. When family caregiving is done, the challenges that arose and impacted your health and finances don’t magically go away. Recovering after family caregiving is a life transition. If you’d like more information about this life transition visit the Caregiver Recovery page for blogs about recovering after caregiving. Or if you’d rather skip directly to some ideas about how to help yourself recovery, read on!
Holistic Tips for Recovering Caregivers
- Be gentle with yourself as you increase your self-care activities. If movement is what you need, consider stretching, walking, or chair yoga.
- Create a healing environment for yourself. Put away the medical equipment and supplies, and fill your space with who and what you love – perhaps plants, essential oils, or some new photos.
- Define and tend to your priorities; your finances, your health, housing, settling an estate, or whatever is most urgent.
- If you are isolated, gradually resume social and community activities. Start with people who are easy to love, or at least easy to be with.
- Resume arts or crafts that you enjoy, or consider taking a class to learn a new craft. For some former caregivers, this might be a non-threatening way to resume being with people. Senior centers and adults education programs may offer low cost classes.
- Put aside unrealistic expectations and set your intention to be patient. Carefully consider your self-expectations and the expectations of others before committing to new activities, responsibilities, and especially to deadlines.
- Remember what makes you smile, and what you enjoy doing. How did you spend your leisure time before caregiving?
- If you are faced with recovery challenges, get help. Or should I say, accept help? That’s often the most difficult thing for a caregiver to do.
In the coming months, I’ll be writing individual blogs about each of these tips, and will try to link them to this blog for your convenience. You will also find these upcoming blogs at the Caregiver Recovery page of my blog. Whatever you do, please take care of yourself.
Thank you to all who are family caregivers. The world is a better place because of you.
Note: Holistic Tips for Recovering Caregivers was a side bar to Forgotten Family Caregivers, an article originally published in Beginnings, February 2019, Vol.39:1. The full article is available through the American Holistic Nurses Association as a continuing nursing education activity.
The full article was also published with permission as a blog in Calm and Centered as Forgotten Family Caregivers
Photo credits (in order of appearance): Duke University (featured image) Pexels, Gale Lyman