Monday, February 2, 2009

Juggling your time

As a caregiver, you have to juggle your time and projects. I'd love to hear how you do it.

Also, how do you feed your own spirit in the midst of caring for someone else?

One close friend of mine, Marlene, cared for her mother for six years. Marlene brought her mom home to live with her when it became clear that help was needed. Her household included her husband and a teen still at home, plus adult children and grandchildren in and out, so it was busy! Marlene's mother eventually developed Alzheimers along with other health problems, and she has recently passed away at the age of 90. Marlene found that it helped her immensely if she sat up late in the evenings after the rest of the family went to bed. She could read, think, de-stress, watch a little television or listen to music--uninterrupted.

Being uninterrupted is the key. How do you handle that? Even if you are a part time caregiver, you have to switch in and out of caregiver mode.

Caregiving is full of interruptions. In fact, I tell people I'm developing ADD as I juggle my stuff, my husband's stuff, and my mom's stuff every day. Then add in the needs of grown children who are in and out of your life, and a new grandchild, and friends and outside responsibilities.

Wow! You definitely don't need to practice keeping your brain busy when you have all of that going on. You feel like your brain is in the "On" position ALL of the time!

So how do you shut it off? Or slow it down?

Today, another friend suggested putting on a set of headphones and grabbing a Walkman or iPod and talking a walk. We are in a great country setting, so getting outside would really be a stress reliever and I intend to incorporate that into my life. Plus putting the headphones on and listening to something I enjoy will help switch gears and quiet my racing mind.

This friend also suggested getting on a treadmill, and while I don't have one of those, I do have an exercise bike. I can turn on the tube and exercise while I think. It helps me juggle, because my mind works things out while I'm busy doing other things, like resting or driving or doing the dishes.

You can keep a notepad and pen or pencil handy, so that while you're grabbing some downtime you can jot down things you need to take care of. That helps your juggling, too.

If you wake up during the night to check on the person you care for, or just because your mind won't shut off, you can jot things down on a notepad next to your bed, too.

Those are things that work for me or I intend to start doing, but I'd love to hear what you do! Please share with us. Your ideas are an encouragement.


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