Oftentimes, becoming a caregiver can be an abrupt experience. Suddenly your life is turned upside down, and you are overwhelmed by your new role of taking care of a loved one. That's what happened to Kristen when her husband Jeff became a quadriplegic after a diving accident.
Much of the things she used to enjoy in her life prior to caregiving were either pushed back or abandoned entirely. Kristen writes about how she used to love doing crafts, crocheting in particular, as a hobby before her husband's injury. But once she was thrust into a caregiving role, "all of my crafting came to a halt," she shares. "I was consumed by caregiving."
"I ended up donating a big chunk of my crafting supplies at this point. The rest - my sewing machine, a few scraps of fabric, and my beloved crochet hooks, knitting needles, and skeins of yarn - were hastily packed into cardboard boxes and stored in a garage. My world now revolved around things like ventilators, catheters, and transfers, and my hobbies were relegated to a distant back burner."
Kristen began to feel her life was unbalanced because she was so focused on her caregiving duties and wasn't giving much thought or time to things that used to bring her joy and help her relax and unwind.
A couple years after her husband's injury, Kristen decided to try picking up her old hobby of crocheting. And while she no longer had the kind of time she used to have to dedicate to her craft, the small segments of time she did have began to restore the balance in her life. "I’ve learned that small projects that I can pick up and put down at a moment’s notice are the way to go, writes Kristen. "Long gone are the days of making intricate quilts with custom embroidery. I no longer have the space nor the chunk of time to dedicate to those projects. What I have now are snippets. Do I miss those long, free hours of crafting at will? Of course. But instead of being resentful for what I no longer have, I’ve learned to be grateful for the time slots available to me now. I’ve learned to work within the snippets."
Kristen encourages other in similar situations who find themselves overwhelmed with caregiving duties to try to find something that brings them joy.
"If you are a caregiver in any capacity or have experienced a monumental shift in your life, I encourage you to pick up an old hobby - or discover a new one - to help find the balance you need. If you think you don’t have time, try it even for a few minutes. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Don’t be afraid to work within the snippets."
Be sure to share this post with other caregivers to encourage them to actively seek out balance in their lives!