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16 Stress Reducing Strategies

By Lisa Bailey
(Page 3 of 3)

14. Give. While I have learned through Phil’s illness to receive the gifts of help, encouragement, prayer and love from other people, Phil and I continue to enjoy giving as part of our marriage. We enjoy praying for other people, talking to other patients in the waiting rooms, encouraging others as much as possible through conversations both in person, in email and through good, old-fashioned snail mail. Giving keeps us feeling emotionally and spiritually full and is always worth the effort.

15. Take good care of yourself. Eat good food, exercise a little, rest well and learn to say no to outside demands. See your doctor and dentist for checkups. Get away from the house now and then—even if it is just to the laundromat to do the bulky wash.

16. Release yourself from expectations for perfection. As humans, we all experience finitude, our “feet of clay” when we do not have infinite energy, wisdom or capabilities to manage our lives. This is normal. Get through each day as best you can, and don’t dwell on mistakes.

Today Phil is doing well, fighting the cancer with chemotherapy, prayer and a great sense of humor. I am blessed to be his partner in this fight. As long as I keep my balance, I feel I do a good job as a loving caregiver. I hope these strategies work to help you both in your caregiving work and in reducing the stress that comes from this part of life’s journey.

Lisa Bailey is the caregiver for her 55-year-old husband Phil, whose colorectal cancer has metastasized to his lungs. They have been married for 31 years, and are parents to four adult children ages 18 to 34, and have eight grandchildren. She is a kindergarten teacher who works full-time, as she provides the medical insurance for her family.

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