When a family member experiences the shock of a stroke, they face the reality of what can be a long and difficult recovery process. Helping your loved one is a top priority for you, and you want to give the best care possible. Whether you are venturing into the world of family caregiving for the first time, or have been a long-term family caregiver, you want to know that your care is making a difference for your struggling family member. Sometimes simple habits can really help you and your loved one through tough times. One of the most important thing you can do when caring for a stroke patient is to safeguard your emotional well being.
Too many family caregivers put their emotional needs aside. They tell themselves that they will focus on themselves when their loved one returns to health. The problem comes when recovery takes months and even years to complete. In the event of a stroke, recovery never happens despite rehabilitation.
Emotional health is important. When you disregard your own emotional needs, you can become physically ill. This comes full circle when poor emotional health hinders your ability to give your loved one the attention they need. Family caregivers can benefit emotionally from:
A Support System
Your family may be a support group. You may also find a local group of family caregivers or community of people affected by stroke. Find a good friend to confide in. Join an online discussion group. It is important to express yourself and ideally receive positive feedback. Talking to other family caregivers of stroke patients can help you to troubleshoot your challenges and commiserate with people who share your trials.
Spend time and Energy – On Yourself
Take a minimum of 15 minutes to spend with yourself. Have some quiet time. Pamper yourself. Watch your TV show. Doing something for yourself for a short time can be therapeutic.
Find an Outlet
The negative emotions caused by stress can be expressed in healthy outlets. Exercise is a common outlet; others include journal writing, baking, spending time with pets, and your favorite hobby.
We want to help you be the best family caregiver possible. If you feel that your emotional health is suffering, you may need respite. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. We are here to help.