From one thing to the next
Our schedules are never the same. As caregivers we may wake up at 7AM or 10AM. Some of us wake up throughout the night to check on our loved one for various reasons; they need help rolling over, machines are ringing, bathroom breaks are needed, aches and pain need attention, etc. We rise, exhausted from the night before, to our loved ones now needing medications and/or supplements upon opening their eyes.
Breakfast is made, teeth brushed, body washed, hair brushed, nails done, and whatever else their nibs requires for the day to feel their wonderful selves. In the midst of the sleepy-eyed labors, we manage to make ourselves a cup of tea, or coffee if you prefer, only to come back to it, cold. This doesn’t stop us from chugging it before going on to the next task.
Finding the strength to keep going
The rest of the day seems to mirror the morning, just to rise and do it all over again tomorrow with no complaint. Love calls and we answer. Seeing our loved one in need forces us to grab a hold of something deep within that gives us a little more fuel for the next day. Prayers are said, forehead kisses, lights out.
Our fuel builds us up and we burn it all on someone else. When do we stop to give care to ourselves? Does guilt prohibit us from taking a moment to enjoy peace?
With 24 hours in a day, are we really consumed so much by caregiving that giving self-care is unattainable?
Stop right where you are. Just inhale and hold it in a few seconds. Then, exhale and let it out for a few seconds. Repeat this process until your jaw unlocks and your teeth are no longer clenched. Let your shoulders lower from your ears and let your upper back begin to relax. Now, doesn’t that feel better? That’s self-care.
It took 19 years for me to comprehend that it was okay to cry sometimes. It is okay to not want to and care-give 24/7. It is okay for me to vent, scream in a pillow or just sit with tears falling from my face asking God, “When Lord?” When will my body feel the relief of muscles that no longer aches and a body that get’s a good nights sleep? When will my loved one’s sufferings end?
Stress built up over years will beat upon your adrenal glands like Sugar Ray in Round 1 of a fight. Eventually the body gives in and we feel the effects. We’re touchy at times. Moody. Ready to snap our teeth at the next nurse or doctor that changes our protocol – you know, the one that works? We cry easily and our body aches. Changes have to happen or we will find ourselves in need of a caregiver.
Make little changes to self-care, like these:
- Go into a quiet room, even if it’s the bathroom, close your eyes and give yourself 10 minutes to just breathe
- Add some epsom salt and essential oil to your bath water
- Skin brushing – it gets the lymph nodes moving
- Foot soak
- Treat yourself to a mani/pedi if you can steel away for an hour
- How about a 30 minute massage?
- Iced drink and a good book – even if it’s a few pages a day
- Eat a healthy meal
- Call a friend that you know will bring laughter to the conversation
- Write a few snail-mail letters
- Take a short walk
- Blow bubbles. I know… sounds weird right? I added bubbles to a care package for a friend and she called me laughing while enjoying her bubbles. Kid at heart, yes?
I’d love to see what you would add to the list!
Whatever it is, please take a moment in a day to self-care. It is vital to your overall health and vitality. It will help you to maintain a more positive attitude and deal with stress a little better. Our loved ones will definitely see a difference and may ask for some of those self-care tips.