How well do you care for yourself after being the caregiver for your loved one? You may be so used to giving that once your loved one dies, you either collapse or seek out others to care for in order to fill the empty void. I’d like to offer you an additional option, one that may feel a bit awkward at first but will pay off in the long run — that is to put yourself first, and give the same love, care and attention you give to others to YOURSELF. Yes, you have permission to focus on you and what is necessary to refuel and recharge your batteries.
There may be many conflicting thoughts in your head and opinions from others telling you how to navigate this new terrain without your loved one present. Some ideas may be helpful, though most will be based on fear or the other party’s vision of how they would respond. However, it is important that you find the ways that nurture you.
If you don’t know or remember what those ways are then this is a great opportunity to explore what it is that really feeds your soul. Get out a piece of paper and make a list of what you enjoy doing. What gives you pleasure? What makes you feel relaxed? What have you enjoyed in the past? What brings a smile to your face? These things may be something you do alone or with others. Just be sure that the activities fill YOU up!
Some examples to get you thinking might include: cooking, reading, walks in nature, time at the beach, spending time with grandchildren, journal writing, visiting art shows, listening to music, exercise, going to museums, playing sports, taking a walk with a friend, sleeping in, or shopping. Each one of us is different so different things will recharge us. Don’t compare yourself to others; figure out what things brings you joy and then go do them!
The pain we feel when a loved one dies is very real and the accompanying grief can be overwhelming. Healing begins by allowing yourself the gift to focus on being a caregiver to yourself. Remember, you have nothing to give if you are running on empty. Take time each day for you because YOU matter!
by Kim Adams www.yourgriefandlosscoach.com