Because it can be so overwhelming, it can be hard to imagine life without it, without caregiving. But, caregiving is a finite experience. And, when it ends, you may find yourself coping in a new world with a new perspective. Life will look different after caregiving. You can prepare today for tomorrow; we’ve got some tips to help:
1. Get help—and receive help in whatever form it arrives.
2. Keep a part of yourself. You give up so much but try to keep something that’s just about you—a hobby, an interest, a friendship.
3. Let forgiveness rule your day; grudges will stunt your growth. Forgive the health care industry, your friends, your family, your care recipient and yourself.
4. Keep a journal or some record of the experience for yourself; just as important, document your care recipient’s life story. Your journal illustrates your amazing personal growth. Your care recipient’s life story keeps you grounded.
5. Maintain your physical health—see your physician annually and your dentist twice-a-year. Exercise and eat right. You’re protecting your future.
6. Nourish your spiritual center. You have a purpose in life. Live it.
7. Socialize, even if only once a month or twice a year. You’ll need your social skills when the experience is over; keeping them oiled will help you wade back in. And, to help you feel comfortable in social situations, be sure to read a daily newspaper, a weekly news magazine and a magazine about an interest or hobby.
8. Set boundaries—and stick to them. You respect others; you, in turn, deserve that same respect.
9. Protect your emotional well-being with professional help when needed. Caregiving is an intense time and will test you like no other experience. The guidance of a good counselor, therapist or coach can keep you track.
10. Embrace the moments—the moments bring home the meaning of the experience.
What other tips would you recommend?