Woman looking outside of window while supporting someone with chronic pain.
I am...

Caring for a loved one

You’re a mother, a father, a sister, a brother, or a child supporting someone living with chronic pain. Or, maybe you’re a husband or wife living with a spouse that has chronic pain.

You are all caregivers, and play a very important role in helping your loved ones lead a balanced and happy life.

1

Take care of yourself, so you can take care of others.

A danger of caregiving, whether you're living with a spouse that has chronic pain or you're a child caring for a parent, is offering care at your own physical and emotional expense. You are no help to your family member if you are burned out. Below are tips for managing caregiver stress and fatigue.

HOW TO DO IT

Leave Guilt At The Door

You’re only human. You need a daily dose of YOU time. Choose your preferred activity to replenish your energy. Whether exercise, meditation, bubble baths, reading, participating in a chronic pain caregiver support group, or just watching your favorite show on TV, dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to yourself. 

Take time to exercise or to yourself

Find time each day, even if it’s 15 minutes for yourself. Exercise, meditate, take a bubble bath, read. You need this time to recharge and tune into the good things in life, and you will be better able to handle your caregiving-related stress if you do.

Ask for help

If you can, don’t hesitate to ask for help from family or friends. You can divvy up tasks amongst one another to make your caregiving duties less demanding. You can also find professional mental health support for you or your loved one, such as from a support group, therapist, coach or psychiatrist

Employer benefits might be there to help

Check with your employer, they may offer plans that help families caring for loved ones.

Monitor your own well being disagreements

Compassion fatigue is real and is very common among caregivers, whether they work as nurses or doctors or are caring for a loved one at home. It’s common to become depressed from the stress and exhaustion from over-exerting yourself or from seeing your loved one in pain. Recognize your feelings and seek assistance or space when needed.

Socialize

Isolation can be difficult. Make sure you cut out some social time for yourself

Figure out finances

Money might be an issue in the future. Talk to your loved one. Don’t let this creep on you. Talk to your doctor about it. There are also free and affordable solutions

Find shortcuts

Enlist your family or friends to help out, make it a family affair. Ask them how they would like to support. Be realistic about the help you need and what you can do yourself.

HOW TO DO IT

Leave Guilt At The Door

You’re only human. You need a daily dose of YOU time. Choose your preferred activity to replenish your energy. Whether exercise, meditation, bubble baths, reading, participating in a chronic pain caregiver support group, or just watching your favorite show on TV, dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to yourself. 

Take time to exercise or to yourself

Find time each day, even if it’s 15 minutes for yourself. Exercise, meditate, take a bubble bath, read. You need this time to recharge and tune into the good things in life, and you will be better able to handle your caregiving-related stress if you do.

Ask for help

If you can, don’t hesitate to ask for help from family or friends. You can divvy up tasks amongst one another to make your caregiving duties less demanding. You can also find professional mental health support for you or your loved one, such as from a support group, therapist, coach or psychiatrist

Employer benefits might be there to help

Check with your employer, they may offer plans that help families caring for loved ones.

Monitor your own well being disagreements

Compassion fatigue is real and is very common among caregivers, whether they work as nurses or doctors or are caring for a loved one at home. It’s common to become depressed from the stress and exhaustion from over-exerting yourself or from seeing your loved one in pain. Recognize your feelings and seek assistance or space when needed.

Socialize

Isolation can be difficult. Make sure you cut out some social time for yourself

Figure out finances

Money might be an issue in the future. Talk to your loved one. Don’t let this creep on you. Talk to your doctor about it. There are also free and affordable solutions

Find shortcuts

Enlist your family or friends to help out, make it a family affair. Ask them how they would like to support. Be realistic about the help you need and what you can do yourself.

2

Educate Yourself

Learn about the latest in chronic pain science by checking out the first few sections of the Mayv Foundations Course on the app or reading about chronic pain from other experts in the field. Acquiring this new understanding of pain will help you better understand what your loved one is up against and will allow you to be better able to participate in their recovery.

HOW TO DO IT

Attend their doctors appointments

Whether your loved one is seeing their regular family doctor or a physician who is more familiar with the mind-body aspects of pain, there may be important information that your loved one might miss. Each visit is on average 30 minutes and is packed with lots of information that sometimes is hard to remember or understand. If you are there, you can help by taking notes and asking clarifying questions.

Be Respectful

Learning about recent developments in pain science may put you at odds with your loved one’s doctor and what they believe is the cause of pain. Discuss any disagreement you have with your friend or family member’s doctor in private. You are on your loved one’s team, and you do not want to create any unneeded tension.

Acknowledge disagreements

Check with your employer, they may offer plans that help families caring for loved ones.

Ask

Discuss any disagreement you have with your loved one with the doctor in private. You are on your loved one’s team, and you do not want to create any unneeded tension.

Honor Independence

We grow up seeking independence. It is a basic human instinct. Your loved one probably values independence as much as you do. Even after you’ve done the research and believe you know best, understand and respect your loved one’s boundaries if they are resistant to your suggestions.

HOW TO DO IT

Attend their doctors appointments

Whether your loved one is seeing their regular family doctor or a physician who is more familiar with the mind-body aspects of pain, there may be important information that your loved one might miss. Each visit is on average 30 minutes and is packed with lots of information that sometimes is hard to remember or understand. If you are there, you can help by taking notes and asking clarifying questions.

Be Respectful

Learning about recent developments in pain science may put you at odds with your loved one’s doctor and what they believe is the cause of pain. Discuss any disagreement you have with your friend or family member’s doctor in private. You are on your loved one’s team, and you do not want to create any unneeded tension.

Acknowledge disagreements

Check with your employer, they may offer plans that help families caring for loved ones.

Ask

Discuss any disagreement you have with your loved one with the doctor in private. You are on your loved one’s team, and you do not want to create any unneeded tension.

Honor Independence

We grow up seeking independence. It is a basic human instinct. Your loved one probably values independence as much as you do. Even after you’ve done the research and believe you know best, understand and respect your loved one’s boundaries if they are resistant to your suggestions.

3

Emotional Support

People living with chronic conditions experience depression, anxiety and/or a feeling of helplessness because they are no longer able to do things they used to do. They can also feel isolated, like no one quite understands what they are going through. And stress from chronic pain can stalk them as well. Here is how you can show up and support someone with chronic pain..

HOW TO DO IT

Listen & Empathize

You may feel like you need to solve everything when in fact what your loved one may want most is to express their emotions of sadness and loss. Encourage them to talk about how they are feeling, and any concerns or fears.

Plan a date, regularly

Living with a spouse that has chronic pain can be a challenge for anyone. Any activity you can do together can help your loved one feel less lonely and isolated. Plan a fun outing, a picnic, a shopping spree, a walk in the park or even read together. Any activity that can be done together can help your loved one feel less isolated and alone

Relax Together

Sometimes, just being together is enough. Meditate together. Practice deep breathing together. Run a bubble bath with candles and some calm music for them.

Encourage movement

Exercise is therapeutic. It can lift the spirit, clear the mind and decrease pain. Ask your loved one to join you for a brisk walk,  a swim or any physical activity they normally enjoy. 

Ask for Help

If you see that your family member is experiencing depression, anxiety or side effects from any medications related to their chronic pain or other chronic condition, encourage them to ask for help from a qualified professional.

HOW TO DO IT

Listen & Empathize

You may feel like you need to solve everything when in fact what your loved one may want most is to express their emotions of sadness and loss. Encourage them to talk about how they are feeling, and any concerns or fears.

Plan a date, regularly

Living with a spouse that has chronic pain can be a challenge for anyone. Any activity you can do together can help your loved one feel less lonely and isolated. Plan a fun outing, a picnic, a shopping spree, a walk in the park or even read together. Any activity that can be done together can help your loved one feel less isolated and alone

Relax Together

Sometimes, just being together is enough. Meditate together. Practice deep breathing together. Run a bubble bath with candles and some calm music for them.

Encourage movement

Exercise is therapeutic. It can lift the spirit, clear the mind and decrease pain. Ask your loved one to join you for a brisk walk,  a swim or any physical activity they normally enjoy. 

Ask for Help

If you see that your family member is experiencing depression, anxiety or side effects from any medications related to their chronic pain or other chronic condition, encourage them to ask for help from a qualified professional.

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