You know what? It's ok to make time for YOU. It is NOT being selfish. More than likely, your kids are calling on you more, your spouse is calling on you more and it is becoming harder to find that special "You Time". Time to recharge and re-energize yourself. Your cup is draining quickly, and the bottom line is… you can't pour from an empty cup!
You are a family Caregiver. You love your loved one- there is no denying that. The fact is, caregiving, in all capacities, takes a lot of time, effort and physical and emotional energy, it is easy to become overwhelmed and anxious when you feel like it is all on your shoulders. It is crucial to take good care of yourself.
One way to take good care of yourself is to watch your thoughts.
Caregiving is one of those roles where you do the best you can, and all the while you need to be diligent to ensure your thoughts “won’t take you out”! I’m talking about nagging thoughts like “you’re not doing this”, “you’re doing too much of that” along with the dreaded “What if…?”
Check in with yourself when you notice these thought patterns coming up. Use your awareness of their cycling as a trigger to stop. Catch it in the act and redirect to thoughts that are more useful, peaceful and energy restoring.
Another way to take care of yourself is to take time for yourself.
It is not selfish. Start by building a Support Network around you. Take inventory of all the people you know. Reconnect with them, whatever that looks like, and share what you are looking for, what kind of support you need, the time commitment and if they are someone you could call in a pinch. Let them know that you can provide the guidance they need to be able to be a successful support with your loved one. Next, research the community supports and services in your area and phone them to see what they can offer at this time. Ask questions and get information specific to your situation. This research will help you know who is available and how they can help you and your loved one. You can build a schedule around the needs of your loved one.
Building and using a Support Network will give your loved one new interactions and experiences to enjoy while you can have some time to go out and see something new or rest and recharge. There is no prize for doing it all by yourself but huge rewards to both you and your loved one when you keep yourself well.
Reaching out and accepting help is essential for you and your loved one’s well-being, after all, Caregiving is a marathon not a sprint.