Caregiving can be a Transformative Experience

I like to explore the issue of Taking Care of Yourself.  In this post I want to elaborate on the issue of caregiving.  Some time ago, I was recently interviewed for a TV documentary on caregivers. In that particular case, the program was on Caregiving at the End of Life, but the principles can be applied to any caregiving situation.

The main message has to do with paying attention to our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, even if this means asking for help.  Being a caregiver myself, I know how necessary it is to have our “me time” in order to recharge and be filled up with beautiful energy. We do not need much time, but it is essential in order to give the best of ourselves. The following suggestions can help you find balance between your role as a caregiver and the other aspects of your life.

First, prioritize. What are the most important issues in your life now?  Now, how do you manage your time? Is it too overwhelming? If this is the case, ask for help. Talk to other members of the family, or close relatives, so you can plan some time for your own necessities. Now, let’s talk about your physical needs:
Eat a balanced and nutritious diet and do some kind of exercise. This will give you a sense of wellbeing and it also helps as a stress-relief.
When possible, get enough sleep. I know that as a caregiver, sometimes it can be challenging, but pay attention to this need, even if this implies asking for respite. 
Your emotional needs are also important. Share with others how you feel. Write on a journal or record your feelings in a voice recorder. There are also support groups that may be a source of help, but please be careful these support groups do not focus on complaining but on transforming.
Lastly, be aware of your spirituality.  Meditate, pray, and/or read inspiring books. Engage in activities that can nourish your soul. And above all embrace Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Love. These are the three spiritual tools I have explored in principle III of “The 11 Principles of Transformation®” because I believe that if we do more of these three things….any difficult situation can be transformed into an experience of personal and spiritual growth.

Have a beautiful day,

Ligia M. Houben