Caregiving hurts. People disappoint, situations cause pain, the declines break your heart. The hurt can break us into pieces and cause us to question whether we’ll never become whole again.

Our caregiving hurts include:

  • Our future because we lost the future we wanted. We now see a future we’re not sure we want to keep.
  • Our head because we experience situations that just make us wonder, “What was that about”? We just can’t get our head around what people do and say or what they don’t do and don’t say.
  • Our heart because we lose friendships and relationships with family members may suffer. We watch our caree suffer and endure pain we can’t stand. Our heart breaks for ourselves and for our caree.
  • Our hope hurts because we never hoped for this, which means we lose trust in any hope. Do we hope for an end to our caree’s suffering which means the end? That feels like a horrible hope. Do we wish for the end to caregiving which also means our caree’s end? That feels like a selfish hope.
  • Our spirit hurts because we can’t seem to get a break or to get ahead. We struggle to continue, all the while knowing we have no choice but to figure out how to continue.

You deserve to be whole which is why I’ve created the following exercise to help you heal. Let’s take a closer look at our hurts and what we can do to feel better.

Healing Your Future Hurts

Ask yourself: What part of your future do you feel you’ve sacrificed? What part of your future do you feel will be really difficult?

You can heal. Here’s why:

  • You have time for what you want in life. You have time now and you will have time tomorrow. You only lose time when you tell yourself there is no time. You have time.
  • You have possibilities because your possibilities don’t have an expiration date. Your possibilities change as you change, which is what’s so great about possibilities. Sometimes, our possibilities see so much more for us than we can. You are a possibility.
  • You have blessings waiting for you. Your future changed, which will change your blessings. The blessings don’t disappear; they simple evolve. And, they wait for you. When you are ready, your blessings will be there.

Now, complete these two sentences:

I hurt about my future because ________________.
I heal my future because _____________________.

Now, tell yourself: I heal my hurts about my future. I embrace all my possibilities.

Healing Our Head Hurts

Our head hurts. Others’ actions or words may boggle our mind. We may wonder how we can wrap our head around what happened.
We may focus so hard and so long on trying to find a solution that just seems elusive.

You can heal. Here’s why:

  • You control your thoughts so you can release your thoughts about others.
  • You can trust a solution will come, which gives your mind space to find the solution.

Now, complete these two sentences:

My head hurts because ________________.
I heal my head because _____________________.

Now, tell yourself: I heal what makes my head hurt. I embrace my solutions.

Healing Your Heart Hurts

Our heart hurts. We watch pain and suffering. We suffer because we can feel helpless. We feel the pain caused by others who disappear.

Here’s why you can heal your heart:

  • Your presence provides comfort. Your smile, your hugs, your company help.
  • You can release judgement – it’s not for us to judge. Let karma work its way through the situation.
  • You can forgive so you can move on.

Now, complete these two sentences:

My heart hurts because ________________.
I heal my heart because _____________________.

Now, tell yourself: I heal what makes my heart hurt. I embrace love.

Healing Your Hope Hurts

Our hope hurts. We can’t find anything to be hopeful about. We feel that hope has deserted us.

You can heal your hope because:

  • You can find hope in this moment right now.
  • You do what you can to make the next moment better.
  • You don’t have to control the outcome only the effort and your effort is more than enough.

Now complete these sentences:

My hope hurts because ________________.
I heal my hope because _____________________.

Now, tell yourself: I heal what makes my hope hurt. I embrace the power in each moment.

Healing Your Spirit Hurts

Our spirit hurts. We can feel beaten down by all we have to do. We can feel burdened because nothing seems to get better.

Now, tell yourself: I can heal.

You can heal your spirit because:

  • This too shall pass.
  • You gain even during a time of loss.
  • Your gains will give you better.
  • You have our unconditional support.

Now, complete these sentences.

My spirit hurts because ________________.
I heal my spirit because _____________________.

Now, tell yourself: I heal what makes my spirit hurt. I embrace support.

Healing Breathing Exercise

Use this breathing exercise to move from hurting to healing.

Get comfortable in your favorite chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Rest your hands on your legs, with your palms facing up.

Now, take a deep breath in and release. Continue to take deep breaths in and releasing.

As you relax, think these thoughts with each breath in and out:

  • I have a future. I am breathing in blessings, breathing out worries.
  • I have a clear head. I am breathing in wisdom, breathing out silliness.
  • I have a whole heart. I am breathing in love, breathing out isolation.
  • I am hope. I am breathing in the sun, breathing out the clouds.
  • I have a beautiful spirit. I am breathing in resilience, breathing out struggle.

You have healed your future, your head, your heart, your hope and your spirit.

(Want to learn more about healing your caregiving hurts? Watch our free webinar, Healing Your Caregiving Hurts.)

About Denise

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched Caregiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

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Jennifer Leigh State
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Oh my gosh, this is all so true!! So true. You’ve so eloquently captured the vast range of emotions, concerns, and hurts we experience(d)! I am going to do the exercise you put together, I think it will be very helpful. Thank you for this post!

Lillie
Member

So very much to think about. I hurt about my FUTURE because I have been Caregiving for so many years I don’t know what I will do. I have no job, no money and no friends. I will heal about my FUTURE by finding peace in the fact that I chose to do this. I will deal with what I have to deal with when it is time. My HEAD hurts because I can not wrap my mind around the idea that my sibling, being so close, has little, almost nothing, to do with OUR Mom. She doesn’t call, she… Read more »