27 Mar Staying Zen: Finding Your Center With Hospice
Having a loved one in hospice can trigger so many conflicting emotions that one may not be able to process on their own. The emotions of grief may set in as well as much anticipation regarding the well-being of the person in hospice care. There are a few misconceptions when it comes to hospice care that tends to add to some stressors people may have in terms of the type of care their loved one will be receiving. While some people assume that a recommendation for hospice is a determined life-expectancy, hospice care actually aims to maintain the current state of health or improve the quality of life of the patient. Hospice is put in place to help those with terminal illnesses or conditions that are unlikely to be cured. By knowing that your loved one has a team of nutritionists, doctors, nurses, social works, spiritual advisors, and the proper medications to manage the pain and symptoms, you can feel a bit more rest assured that they are in fact being helped. However, there are things you can do for yourself in order to cope with these events.
Speak to Someone
Having a severe illness or condition is one thing, but it’s another to bear witness to a loved one undergoing that experience. The whole ordeal may feel very debilitating for the person observing what’s happening and feeling helpless. Spiritual and mental counseling isn’t just necessary for those in hospice but is also fundamental for the healing of their loved ones. According to Kubler-Ross, a Swiss psychiatrist, people generally undergo Five Stages of Grief when they’ve lost someone. These stages are denial, anger bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages are not always gone through in that sequential order and some people skip or repeat some stages. Kubler-Ross’s model serves as an overview as to what process we as humans go through when dealing with loss and even the expectation of a loss. While some people find it difficult to reach acceptance, others tend to get stuck with depression. During these times, it’s important that you find a therapist that will guide you through the canals and plateaus to acceptance. A therapist will provide stability, reassurance, support, and encouragement as you support your loved one as they go through any adjustments.
Channel Your Emotions Through Grounding Exercise and Techniques
Expounding on the stages, denial is a common first reaction as some cannot fathom the reality. If one stays in this mentality for too long, it can lead to them detaching from their emotions altogether and not addressing how they truly feel. Some may not even know how they feel due to hiding the emotions for so long. Holding all of that inside can make you feel uncentered and not grounded in your body. In many cases, this can be considered a trauma through which you may find yourselves dissociating from your present reality. Some describe it as an out-of-body experience. A wonderful grounding exercise that is also quite popular is yoga. Yoga combined with a good breathing technique will help you quiet the negative self-talk within the mind and allow you to experience peace. Grounding techniques are typically used for PTSD and help people who experience anxieties, panic attacks, fatigue, etc. The techniques include humming, tapping, and even hugging a tree. You’d be surprised at what these techniques can do if you feel like your head is in the clouds or if you’re not feeling fully aware in your body.
The program of negative self-talk can be easily triggered when going through a very challenging situation. You may hear the dialogue in your mind telling you that you should be helping your loved one more even though you are already doing all that you can. Those are just false thoughts trying to get you down and knock you off of your center. Mindfulness meditation is and will help you to approach that voice head on and silence it so that you can walk into acceptance a lot easier. This meditation should be done 30 minutes to an hour. Focus on your breathing as you sit up with your eyes closed. If your mind wanders, pull it back to focusing on your breathing. You will be noticing the emotions that you probably don’t get a chance to during your usual routine. It’s important not to engage and interact with those emotions. Instead, acknowledge them and observe them. With practice, you will be building more balance as well as that bridge between your subconscious mind and the conscious mind to have greater control over your thoughts and your emotions.
Grief is a very natural and common human emotion and so is love. Practice self-love by taking care of your own physical, mental, and spiritual health so that you can be of great help to the ones you love when they need you.