How to Cope When Surrounded by Sickness


By Penelope Young Andrade, LCSW

Do you know how to cope when you’re surrounded by loved ones facing serious illnesses? When you’re a caregiver, it’s crucial to make self care a high priority. Given the unending needs of the sick ones this may feel impossible. However, if you don’t take time for yourself, you’ll end up in the infirmary! Although taking time out for meals, massages, and manicures is helpful, it’s even more important to take time out for emotional clearing.

Here’s the tip. See if you are comfortable shifting focus to yourself. You may have to heal your survivor’s guilt or shame about having needs of your own. Next, undo your aloneness. Find kind eyes and soft shoulders as you look into your heart to welcome grief, anger, and fear. Whatever give-and-take was previously present with the ill one is now gone (at least temporarily.) You’re now missing a friend, lover, playmate, partner and that is sad and infuriating and scary. If those relationships were complicated there’s even more to process.

Stay in your body as you allow emotions to move briefly through your experience. Sob, stomp, shake. Let go. Set the timer. Keep focused on sensations so you’ll notice the very moment that ease breaks through…hint, it’ll be sooner than you think! Breathe. Notice that you now see clearly you don’t have to do it all. You have all the time you need. You can be here for yourself and your loved ones as you rest in the present moment. This moment. Now. ©


Penelope Young Andrade LCSW
Twitter @EmotionalRx

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