Maintaining Self-Care When Loved Ones Are Sick

 


Photo by Karolina Grabowska · Photography (pexels.com)


A few months ago, my family had to make our health a priority.  Thankfully, we were fortunate that none of these health concerns were related to COVID 19! My son ended up just having a common cold stomach virus and my mom (who had been alone in her apartment when she passed out the same day as my son's illness) we learned had a new but manageable condition. As for me, it was time for an outpatient procedure that I had to put off. The good news is, we are all O.K. and doing well today!

Out of each circumstance there were things that made  it a little bit easier to manage, because when you or loved ones are unwell, it can be quite stressful.  Most importantly,  you can forget to nurture yourself in the midst caring for others. 


Here are some suggestions that made the difference for me. 


Stay on top of home organization and chores.

I never would have expected to get a phone call that my mom was unwell the same day that I had a sick kid at home. Between doing several loads of laundry to keep up with the kid that couldn't keep down even water and trying to figure out what care mom would have and receive until I or another family member could check in on her at the hospital, the last thing I needed was to be shifting through clutter and disorganization at home. Without this hassle, I was able to easily maneuver around the house and make the phone calls I needed to make to inform other family members on how they could help too!


Tag other friends or family members to get more help.

Like I mentioned, this was an unusual day. The moment I realized I could not be in two places at one time I had to check in with other family and a few friends for support. Sometimes, even if someone can't be physically present, they can offer emotional support while you navigate your day.  If a family member can be physically present to help, completely release the specifics to them and you focus on what is within your control.  I also had a few back up plans if the worst happened. This is not the time to play superhero alone!


Keep yourself hydrated, take my vitamins and eat healthy

It's not uncommon to have appetite changes when feeling tension. Personally, I had already had an outpatient procedure just weeks prior and although recovery was complete, it was important that I maintained healthy habits so that I didn't run myself down. Leaving myself out of my care plans for the day would have made tensions higher and anxiety take over. Vitamins and hydration were non-negotiable. I like to keep a fruit and veggie platter ready often to nibble on throughout the day. It was a huge help to me this day. 


Once over the urgency, think through anything that you may need to prep for in the future.

Many of these situations, when the urgency is over are opportunities to think through anything that you may need to be a little more prepared in the future, just in case.  One other big change that helped was moving mom to my city as I am currently the closest member of the family at this time. In addition, although this wasn't a case of a crisis like a fire, I took time to be sure that my first aid kit was accessible and checked the fire extinguisher. I also added emergency contact numbers into our home binder. This home binder also has copies of insurance and doctor information. 


I can only imagine the kind of time and attention goes into care for someone on a fulltime basis, for family who have conditions that need ongoing care.  In times like these, I imagine it's very difficult. Here are a few other articles that may also be of interest: 


Caring for Your Sick Child (verywellfamily.com)

7 Steps to Take When Aging Parents Need Help – DailyCaring

Self-care for the caregiver - Harvard Health


What are some helpful tips you learned coming out of a tense situation or needing to help another family member get well again?


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