Redefining You: The Transformative Journey After Caregiving

A woman examines her reflection in the mirror as she contemplates her journey after caregiving.

There is a journey after caregiving. Discover how to find yourself again in this new phase of life.

Caring for a family member can be an all-consuming role. It takes so much of your time, focus, and energy that when you no longer need to provide care, for any reason, it may leave you feeling lost. Other common feelings to expect in your journey after caregiving for a loved one include:

  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Exhaustion
  • Sadness
  • Grief
  • Hopelessness
  • Relief
  • And so many more

Finding Yourself After Caregiving

It is best to allow yourself some transitional time to rediscover what it’s like to live a life that doesn’t include putting someone else’s needs first. Take time for reflection on your caregiving experience. How did it change you? What did you learn?

It’s also common to feel some degree of guilt once your caregiving role ends. You may feel as if 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 is important to forgive yourself and change your internal dialogue to concentrate 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 best. Extend the same grace to yourself that you’d extend to someone else.

After 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?
  • Are there volunteer opportunities that interest you?
  • What hobbies, activities, and passions do you want to pursue?
  • How do you want to structure your days now that you have extra time available?

It is best to establish small goals that can be easily reached, as opposed to biting off more than you may be able to chew. For instance, you might choose to reach out to one trusted friend and see if they would want to meet for a regular lunch or coffee date. Take sufficient 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 CareWorks Health Services

If, in your journey after caregiving, you learn that you miss providing care for others, we would love to talk to you about an opportunity to make use of your compassion and skills to brighten life for another person in need of assistance. Your experience as a family caregiver makes you a good 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 online or call us at (949) 859-4700 to find out more.