Gratitude eases the stress of caregiving partners. My personal experience as a husband of a chronically ill wife.
Gratitude eases the stress of caregiving partners.
As a husband of a woman who has multimorbidity, I found how gratitude eases the stress of caregiving partners like myself.
Undoubtedly it’s incredibly hard for someone who has a chronic condition, however, the struggles of spousal caregivers are rarely spoken of.
It’s worth remembering that for every chronically ill person there is an army of partners who support them.
I’m a man whose wife has rare, advanced stage IV deep infiltrating endometriosis. But that’s not all, she also suffers from widespread pain that is caused by fibromyalgia.
Trying to be well is a full-time job for my wife, however, aside from the physical symptoms, I go through it with her emotionally and mentally in my own way.
Not only do I get worried about my wife’s physical symptoms if I didn’t prioritize my own self-care, but I would also end up risking caregiver burnout.
My wife’s chronic illnesses thought me to take care of myself, to appreciate the little things in life, and I have learned that such gratitude eases the stress of caregiving partners like myself.
So, here’s the answer to the question of how gratitude eases the stress of caregiving partners?
Gratitude can be a stress-reduction technique for partners who support their chronically ill loved ones.
It may sound simple, but it’s a really effective way of combating stress.
Additionally, it’s free, quick, and you can practice it anywhere, anytime.
Practicing gratitude can make you even happier, help you sleep better, boost your immune system, and even protect you from caregiver burnout and depression.
Spouses who become caregivers feel better if they believe that their partner recognizes and appreciates their support.
The gratitude and appreciation of your partner are equally important to your own gratitude.
It’s important that you know what gratitude is.
Gratitude or being grateful for what you have doesn’t mean ignoring your negative feelings. It’s about the quality of being thankful and appreciative for and to return kindness.
Gratitude, however, isn’t about ignoring bad things. Stress is a part of life, it will always be there.
I don’t want to suggest that you should suck it up and be thankful no matter how tough things get.
I want you to notice that there are always some positive things in your life, no matter how dark things may seem, and I’m not saying it because I’m an optimist. It’s simply the truth.
Being aware of that allows you to get a different perspective, and makes you realize that things are not terrible all the time. Sure, I’m an optimist in nature but gratitude can help you become more optimistic too!
Getting into the habit of noticing the little things and being thankful for the good things improves your overall attitude, training your brain to become more optimistic.
Gratitude also helps you focus on what you do have instead of focusing on negative thinking about what you don’t have.
Being a caregiver…
When I spend time with my wife and support her, I do with from love, and because I feel sorry for her that she’s in so much pain. I don’t want her to be in pain.
When I spend time helping her, it improves my sense of well-being. I know I do something positive. We both benefit from it.
I’m a professional caregiver for less fortunate, disabled young adults. I do it for the job. But I’m also a spousal caregiver. Spousal caregiving brings an enormous burden, emotionally, physically, and economically.
Being a caregiver is one of the most difficult stress-wise, emotionally burdensome, and physically demanding roles that a person can take on.
Studies show that spouses who are caregivers of chronically ill partners show decreased immune function, increased signs of physiological stress, and are at greater risk for physical and mental illness.
At the same time, providing help to somebody relieves stress, and is associated with better emotional and physical well-being.
Succeeding as a spousal caregiver means being ready for change, expecting the unexpected, knowing when to ask for help, finding time for yourself, practicing self-care, and making peace with your partner when hard times arise.
We all hope to experience a wonderful life. But what happens when one of you becomes ill and needs constant care? What happens when to your relationship shortly after the marriage one of you is diagnosed with a chronic illness?
Life used to be good to us. I and my wife were professional dancers. We were extremely active, She taught dancing, I loved going to the gym daily, 7 days a week.
When we got married, the battle with unexplained symptoms and the ignorance of her doctors began.
It took over our lives. We stopped dancing, focusing on her recovery that was never to occur. Countless doctor’s appointments and hospital visits totally changed our time spent together.
Our marriage was put under a huge strain. The illnesses my M was diagnosed with made her feel sorry for me, she felt like a burden to me. On three occasions she told me to divorce her and tried to commit suicide.
In the beginning, I was caregiving for the job but after my wife became ill, I became a caregiver 24/7. I never stopped since.
How gratitude eases the stress of caregiving partners?
Endometriosis is a chronic condition that is extremely demanding. The pelvic pain can be extremely strong, stabbing, excruciating to the point that my wife ended up in the hospital on many occasions.
Physical pain, chronic fatigue, and emotional drain impact her mental wellbeing causing anxiety and depression. My wife also had after her laparoscopic surgery an infection, which caused her to develop an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD for short).
Imagine myself trying to comprehend all this burden, being a husband, breadwinner, and caregiver at the same time. The amount of challenges is huge!
Knowing how to deal with my emotions was tough, to begin with, but over a decade I’ve learned how to deal with them.
One of the ways was always being grateful for what I already had. So, how gratitude eases the stress of caregiving partners?
For me it is the fact that I am healthy, I’m not in pain. And that’s all I really need to be happy…
When you are healthy and you don’t suffer from chronic pain, when you open your eyes in the morning and lift your head of the pillow, you have everything you really need!
Health is all you need to be happy, don’t ask for more, don’t be greedy, appreciate what you have. And if you forget about the importance of being healthy, look at your partner, and be grateful that you’re not in her position.
I blog, but you can use a simple journal to practice gratitude and reduce stress as a caregiver. This is one of the best ways to practice gratitude, so, keep it simple, but write a journal.
It can be as simple as a paper notebook, a text document on your mobile phone, or even a note app on your phone.
What you should do is aim to write down the things that you feel grateful for. There’s no right or wrong. To give you a few suggestions:
- Use a few minutes of your time each day, it’s not a lot, and think about one or more things you are grateful for.
- Read over your journal when you’re feeling down or stressed. That will help you boost your mood and shift any negative thoughts.
- Write for instance that you’re grateful for caring for the person you love, or how you enjoyed the weather today.
Practice gratitude by keeping a journal. It is free and very easy to do, it truly does reduce stress. Try it for a few weeks to see how it makes you feel?
When an illness derails your partner’s life, it definitely impacts yours.
Gratitude eases the stress of caregiving partners. This is my personal experience as a husband of a chronically ill wife. If I can do it, anyone can!
Let’s meet in the comment section and discuss your thoughts. Until then…
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…