This article is written by Melisa Marzett from Essay Editor.
It’s a real shock to find out that someone you care about suffers from a disease that could lead to disability or even death. To family and friends, it may seem like their plans and dreams together have faded, and only uncertainty, loss and grief remain.
“Loneliness constantly tormented me, it seemed as if I was cut off from everyone,” says my friend Kathleen, whose husband suffered from chronic depression. “Nothing ahead could be seen. We could not even invite guests or go to someone. In the end, we almost completely stopped communicating with people.” Many relatives, just like Kathleen, experience guilt because they feel there’s little they can do to help.
Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross established that a significant part of ill people go through several stages of grief when diagnosed with a (life-threatening) illness. What do these phases look like and what can family and friends do to support a loved one with a chronic disease?
When you’ve endured deep pain and hardship, your heart seems to crack wide open for other people’s suffering too. You wouldn’t want anyone else to go through the same despair, loneliness and aching you’ve experienced. That’s why I believe in the famous words of mother Theresa:
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
Being a caring person doesn’t just do good, it also feels good. Scientific research suggests that compassion and altruism aren’t just positive for the world, they’re great for your own health too. According to brain-imaging studies, giving to others is as rewarding as receiving. It promotes happiness, social connections and even longevity. What’s more, researchers found that people who were happy because they lived a purposeful life rich in compassion and altruism, had low inflammation levels, which is associated with a reduced risk of illness.
And best of all, generosity and kindness seem to be contagious, spreading to others like a chain reaction. All the more reason to spread a little love with random acts of kindness!
On a side note: I understand that the phrase ‘random acts of kindness’ refers to the inconsistency of the small kind gestures, compared to doing weekly volunteer work or serving your country through your daily work. But when you purposely try to do good on a somewhat regular basis, it’s not that random, right?
Now volunteering in a soup kitchen, participating in a beach clean-up or joining a Big Brother, Big Sister program are all noble causes. But when you’re chronically ill, in financial troubles or overwhelmed from juggling work and home life, you may have the heart of a philanthropist, but not the matching bank account or physical resources. That’s why I made a list of ‘not-so random’ acts of kindness that anyone can do’, even if you’re sick, sad or without money to donate.
Have a look at these 44 acts of kindness to support loved ones, strengthen your community and make the world a nicer place (while boosting your own health too!).
This article is written by Carolyn Ridland from CaregiverConnection.
Caregiving is rewarding, but tough. Whether you’re a professional or taking care of family, self-care is an important part being able to take care of others effectively. If you’re beginning to feel burned out, here are ten practical tips to help you get started.
It’s a familiar scenario. You’d like to start eating healthier, but your spouse and kids aren’t jumping for joy at the thought of having broccoli and quinoa for dinner. Between work and family life, the last thing you want is drama at the dining table or endless brainstorm sessions about what to cook tonight. So what can you do to get your family on board with healthy eating?
Have a look at these 10 good food strategies to win over your family’s hearts, minds and tastebuds.
Being a good friend and having a chronic illness are not mutually exclusive. Of course not; you can still have a good time together, listen to your BFF’s adventures and share your problems. But it is harder to maintain friendships when you feel sick every day. It’s harder to be a part of their lives when you’re housebound. It’s harder to do fun things together when you have limited mobility. It can even be challenging to find common ground when your friend goes to college, builds a career, gets married and has kids while your life is on hold as a result of your chronic illness.
Much has been written about how you can support your friend in need – I recommend There’s No Good Card for This – but what about the other way around? How can you keep friendships alive when you’re the one who’s sick?
Here are some ideas to be a good friend even though you’re chronically ill.
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