Finding out that your loved one has been diagnosed with a serious illness is one of the most heartbreaking things you could ever experience. Not only does it immediately change your life, but you must also be there for them, other loved ones, and yourself. Statistics show that 45% of people caring for their spouse or parent are stressed. That can take a toll on your health. But you don’t have to go through all that alone. You can learn to cope with the new circumstances with the right steps, including the following.
1. Read More on the Illness
The last thing you might want to do when a loved one has been diagnosed with an illness is to read more about that illness. It might cause you to overthink and spiral into a state of anxiety. However, it can also do you a lot of good instead of harm. One of the best ways to come to terms with hearing the news of a loved one’s illness is by researching and attempting to understand their condition. Learning more can help you become a much better listener and empathize with your loved one because you can understand their thoughts and feelings.
You can also use your newfound knowledge to educate other family members and friends who might struggle to come to terms with the disease. A great way to start is by reading about the illness online. You can use trusted medical resources and journals or even ask your loved one’s doctor to help you understand their condition better.
2. Take Care of Yourself
When your loved one is seriously ill, it’s very easy to lose yourself in wanting to be there for them at all times. There’s nothing wrong with sacrificing your time for them, but remember that you also need to care for yourself. For example, if your spouse is unwell, you might risk developing sick spouse stress, which can affect your physical and mental well-being. Although your life will change to some degree, you must ensure that you make a little time for yourself. Whether doing something you love for an hour or two or taking regular walks to clear your mind, you should do it.
3. Consider Getting Outside Help
Sometimes, you can’t do it all; try as you might. The best thing you can do for yourself during such a period is to rely on outside care, whether from other loved ones or professional care. You can also have someone who would attend to the housekeeping and watch the kids so you can devote your time to caring for your loved one.
Go through your social networks. It could be an immediate family member or other people in your community that can help you during this difficult time. You can also seek counseling for you and other family members to help you talk about how you feel in a safe space.
Watching your loved one go through a serious illness can be extremely heartbreaking. But it would help if you were strong for them and others that depend on you. Fortunately, these tips will help you manage better and be there for everyone and yourself.