When you are caring for those, you love it’s pretty hard to stop and think of your own needs. We can feel guilty thinking of ourselves and there is never enough time anyways. I experienced being a caregiver twice in my life so I know it can be stressful, busy and a crazy time. But it can very quickly take a toll on our minds and bodies.
There was always too much to do when I was caregiving and I couldn’t understand why no one else could see that. Maybe I made it look easy, but I was go go going all the time. Now that things have quieted down for me, I see what I was going through when I was in the thick of things. You never really notice until you are out of a situation what you were putting yourself through. But once you can breathe and clear your head, things begin to make sense. And maybe, hopefully, you can make some changes that can better not only your health, but your life for years to come.
This is why I think it’s a good idea to take a break now and then when you are caring for someone. I know it’s not always easy, and believe me I do know, but if you can, get yourself to a place where you find some release to give you relief and find calmness in your day and what you are doing. You will find you have more energy the next day and maybe the rest of the week. Hopefully, you can rest enough that you won’t freak out on the first person that asks you a question because you are so exhausted. How dare they not see how tired you are, that they attempt to ask more of you? You don’t want to get to that point. Then don’t forget to reward yourself another day for all the hard work you are putting into caring for your loved ones. Because not everybody can do what you do.
You are no good to your loved ones if you are not giving your body a chance to recuperate. If there are ailments to tend to then take the time to look at what needs your attention for you too. I don’t have to tell you what happens if you don’t listen to the warning signs your body gives you. More times than not, when I speak to a caregiver, I find they end up getting sick too, and in some cases, it may be worse than the person they are caring for. This is not good for anyone. Some time is needed to rest the weary body and recharge oneself. Your mind needs time to rest too from all the responsibilities you have and what may be difficult work. I know it’s hard to stop sometimes. Nobody can take care of your loved ones like you can and I hear you, where is the time! But, in some cases, a breather is needed. Especially if it’s an intense situation that needs your full attention. Even if you are there to overlook the situation, at least you are taking some down time.
Try and find some way that you can get that time, whether it’s going for a walk with your loved ones or even alone if you can designate someone to look after your loved ones. Read a book, bake, tinker with your car or enjoy another hobby like tending to a garden. You can even start growing things inside by using grow lights. There are lots of ideas out there now to learn how to do this. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a small area in your kitchen, like a wall, where you have herbs growing just a few feet away? Do some rug pulling or pull out the puzzles or games. Don’t paint a room if you don’t have the time or the energy, but you can certainly pick up one of those paint by number kits. You can even change the energy around in a room by rearranging some things. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can be as simple as changing up those old pillow cases that maybe you’ve had for some time. Or move some trinkets around from one place to another. You may even like the change. Please don’t take on anything big or strenuous alone. Ask for help if you need it. And when you find you are having a hard day, maybe start singing that favorite song you love. Even if it’s singing it to yourself. You may find you can brighten up others by singing it out loud. Bring joy however you can. You will find it will not only lift your spirits, but your loved ones as well.
Plan the time for any bigger changes and mark the time in your calendar to remind yourself, and the family that you are taking this time for you. And hold yourself accountable. Actually, jot your down time. Even if it’s a few minutes when your loved one is resting. Because we all know what happens when we have some free time. We go crazy to fit in all the things we could not do when we were taking care of our loved ones. Keeping up with the laundry was a big one for us.
So, just keep reminding yourself to take some time for yourself. However big or small a time it is. And don’t be so hard on yourself if you miss the date. Just try again another day. If you plan things, you may find you can better manage. That way you are not repeating the same job or wondering what was that other chore you had to get done that was so important to do, but you were too tired to remember what it was.
Remember that your loved ones love you too, and whether they are coherent or not in all that is going on around them, their higher self, their spirit, their soul will be asking you to take the time you need to stay strong for them and for you.
S. R. John
SR John is a Writer, Author and Life Coach. She offers various Writing services as well as Life Coaching services, dealing with caregivers looking after their loved ones. As a caregiver herself to several family members, she understands the importance of self-care when it comes to looking after ourselves during difficult times. She is the author of, ‘Bipolar Love Experiencing Mental Illness From The Other Side A Love Story’, ‘Bipolar Love Caring For The Caregiver 8 Simple Steps To Self-Care’, a book for caregivers, as well as a children’s fiction book, ‘Ghost Detective The Magic Ruby. You can check out her books on Amazon.com or visit her site at srjohnofficial.com. Her email address is also listed below.
Life Coach - Coaching the Caregiver - Supporting those that care for loved ones
Books: Bipolar Love Experiencing Mental Illness From The Other Side A Love Story (fiction)
Bipolar Love Caring For The Caregiver 8 Simple Steps To Self-Care (non-fiction)
Ghost Detective The Magic Ruby (fiction for young and old)
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/author/srjohn