December 18, 2023 by
Caring for a loved one is often an all-consuming role. It requires so much of your time, focus, and energy that when caregiving ends, for any reason, it can leave you feeling lost. Other common feelings to expect when you are no longer serving as caregiver for a loved one include:
- And so many others
Finding Yourself After Caregiving
You will want to allow yourself some transitional time to rediscover what it’s like to live a life that does not include putting someone else’s needs first. Take time for reflection on your caregiving experience. What did you learn? How did it change you?
It’s also common to feel some degree of guilt after your caregiving role ends. You may feel as though there were things you should have done differently or could have done better. The “what ifs” are quite common, and it can be easy to fall into feelings of regret. It’s important to forgive yourself and change your internal dialogue to focus on the many positive ways you impacted your family member while providing care. Accept any mistakes, real or perceived, by understanding that you are human and that you did your very best. Extend the same grace to yourself that you would extend to someone else.
Once you’ve processed the complex emotions surrounding this transitional time, think through the following:
- What relationships have had to take a back seat while you were providing care? What steps can you take to rebuild them?
- How would you like to structure your days now that you have extra time available?
- Are there volunteer opportunities that interest you?
- What activities, hobbies, and passions would you like to pursue?
It’s best to set small goals that are easily reached, rather than biting off more than you may be able to chew. For instance, you may decide to reach out to one trusted friend and see if they’d like to meet for a weekly coffee or lunch date. Take plenty of time for self-care to nurture both your mind and body, and gradually add on more activities as you feel prepared to take them on.
Talk to At Home Independent Living
If you find that you miss caring for others, we would love to talk to you about an opportunity to use your compassion and skills to brighten life for another person in need. Your experience as a family caregiver makes you a great fit for a professional caregiving role, and we will equip you with full training and all the support you need to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Contact us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to learn more.