Thursday, September 22, 2011

Healing Activities for Couples (Patients & Caregivers)

Healing Activities for Couples

(Patients & Caregivers) 

The following is an expanded version of the list on our Couples Facing Illness web site (that some followers have had difficulty locating).

1. Create together: cook a meal or new dish; let the patient spouse do the "sou" chef or minor prep work and well spouse can actually do the cooking/baking. Re-arrange your furniture -- let the well-spouse relocate the heavier stuff =), paint a giant poster board any way you're inspired, grow a plant or a small herb garden, make up a secret and "kinda krazee" handshake, complete a cross word puzzle or a picture puzzle, co-write a "where we are now" letter to send to extended family and friends. Use your imaginations together.

2. Practice deep breathing together for stress and PAIN relief (and/or meditate together). If the patient spouse is going through a flare-up, light a few natural soy or non-toxic candles/dim lights, put on soothing music and just sit or lie next to one another. Try deep breathing in unison. 

3. Don’t let your bedroom become a “sick room.” When you wake up, get up and go to another room in your house where you can rest and recoup. Change into fresh (comfortable) clothes even if it's a new pair of pajamas or warm-ups.

4. Keep bedroom healthy with positive messages, happy photos, plants, let sunshine & fresh air in, play uplifting music while awake and calming sounds for sleep time. If you live in area where the air is unhealthy put an air filter with ionizer in your room.

5. Play! Try simple board games or cards indoors, draw or paint, make a collage of photos & images that inspire you to feel happy & heal. Put up a soft, indoor mini basketball hoop & practice tossing ball from various positions, use your imagination. Share a computer game that you both like. On the patient spouse's "stronger" or "better" days, visit your local park on mild weather days for a light picnic or fly a kite!

6. Laugh together; watch funny shows/movies. Tell jokes. Do silly little dances, whistle, sing fun songs, recall experiences that make you laugh, and look at photos of fun or funny times.

7. Go for walks together (just get outside). Walk around your house or yard. If patient spouse must use a wheelchair, the well spouse can find an area in neighborhood with sidewalks or even pavement and burn extra calories wheeling your mate. Sit and watch the sunset or go out in early eve and look at stars.

8. Recycle or give away something you no longer use. Replace something old or in disrepair with something new (old shoes, lamp shade, small appliance, books or magazines you no longer need, etc.).

9. Exercise together and encourage one another to eat healthy and be active. If patient spouse is unable to do light exercises, help her/him to do gentle stretches on bed while you stretch beside the bed. If patient spouse is unable to go to gym encourage your well/care-giving spouse to work out and ask them to "do an extra set or walk an extra block" for you!

10. Break your routine occasionally; go for a drive on a scenic road, visit a new exhibit at a museum during off hours, try a new recipe or restaurant (order "to go" if you don't feel like eating out). Listen to a new kind of music. Learn some words & a few phrases in another language and practice saying these to each other.

11. Do something kind and show appreciation for one another each week. Buy or make a small gift (poem, card or note of thanks, small non-toxic scented candle or soap), do a small chore or errand that your mate normally does, leave a loving message or text on your mate's cell phone, etc.

12. Practice loving touches every day such as; hugs, kisses, gentle pats, light massages, holding hands, etc.,

13. Take turns reading small sections of an inspiring book, scripture passages, and inspiring and uplifting quotes. Start with just a 3 to 5 minute reading. Also, listen to inspiring stories, scriptures, or poems, together on audio CD.

14. For special events (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) splurge and have someone come to your home to prepare and serve dinner, get his & her massages, invite a friend, church member(s), or neighbor(s) over to play a musical instrument.

15. If you have children at home, ask them to do a small play or performance for a weekend night. (Have organic pop-corn or chips and salsa & beverages afterwards).

No matter how difficult things can be at times, try to remember to lighten the moment with a silly song, joke, gesture, etc. Do small things to change up the routine and take occasional breaks from one another by going to lunch, a lecture, movie, or coffee, with a friend or family member. The patient spouse can have a friend over to the house if he/she can't get out.

We welcome you to share a unique healing activity that you and your spouse do together (just click on comment below).

~Cry Some, Laugh More, Pray (and Play) Often~